3D Mammography Now Available at the Breast Health and Research Center

3d mammogram in phoenix
Video: Learn about mammography using Hologic's new 3D digital breast tomosynthesis system, now available at the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center.

Valley women will have access by early April to the nation's first lifesaving three-dimensional mammography at John C. Lincoln's Breast Health and Research Center, director Sherry Gage, RTRM, announced today.

The new technology, Selenia Dimensions developed by Hologic, Inc., is a 3D digital mammography system known as tomosynthesis. Selenia Dimensions hardware was installed at John C. Lincoln's Breast Center last year, but could only be used for two-dimensional breast imaging, pending federal approval for 3D use.

Soon, with installation of software approved Friday by the federal Food and Drug Administration, when Valley women are screened for breast cancer at John C. Lincoln's Breast Center, they will have access to ground-breaking, superior tomosynthesis 3D imaging technology.

Tomosynthesis provides a clearer picture and eliminates confusing overlapping of tissue that is seen in conventional mammograms that may hide lesions or cause benign areas to appear suspicious. It was designed to reveal the inner architecture of the breast, free from the distortion typically caused by tissue shadowing or density.

Benefits of Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

Traditional mammograms produce 2D imaging, while the Hologic tomosynthesis mammograms allow both 2D and 3D screening all under one compression, in just seconds, at a combined x-ray dose below the FDA's acceptable maximum guidelines for screening mammography. This will give radiologists and doctors the ability to compare a patient's previous standard 2D mammogram side-by-side, as well as review more thorough information in a 3D format.

In clinical studies, radiologists reading 2D plus 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) compared to 2D mammography alone demonstrated superior clinical performance in specificity, the confidence to rule out breast cancer without recalling the patient for further study, and also demonstrated improved sensitivity, the proportion of mammograms which include breast cancers that were correctly diagnosed.

"This is critically important, especially for younger women with dense breast tissue, because it means we will be able to find and identify cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage," Gage said. "The bottom line? With this system we can save more lives."

The medical device had previously been approved and is in use in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Canada and Mexico. Ahead of today's approval, the systems installed in the United States were used exclusively for 2D imaging. Now that final FDA approval is in place, Hologic can upgrade systems to perform 3D functions.

New Technology Means Fewer Patients Recalled For Follow-Up Imaging

A statement made Friday by the FDA said, "The limited technology (of traditional mammography) requires some women to have additional testing. Reviewing an additional 3D image helped doctors find more cancers than with 2D images alone." The FDA noted that improved accuracy in detecting cancers with Hologic's tomosynthesis system decreased the number of women radiologists recalled for a diagnostic workups.

Historically, approximately 10 percent of women who get screening mammograms undergo additional testing for abnormalities that are later determined to be noncancerous.The National Cancer Institute recommends women ages 40 and older have a mammogram every one to two years. Nearly 40 million mammograms are performed each year in the United States.

John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center is now scheduling appointments for 3D mammograms beginning in April 2011. For more information about 3D mammography or to schedule and appointment, visit or call 623-780-HOPE (4673).

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