The newest advance in breast imaging is digital 3D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). Breast imaging specialists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are now offering 3D mammography.
3D mammography takes images of each breast from multiple angles with an x-ray machine that moves in a 30-degree arc. The result is a detailed picture used to identify the precise location of any tumors or microcalcifications, which are small calcium deposits that are common and usually benign.
Patients might not notice a difference in how the exam is performed compared with 2D mammography, but the benefits of the new technology are significant. Studies show that 3D mammography offers improved clarity and cancer detection compared with conventional two-dimensional (2D) mammography. With the improved clarity, radiologists are able to confirm whether the mammogram is showing a tumor earlier in the screening process.
3D Mammography Scheduling
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Initial research has found a 30 to 40 percent reduction in the number of call-backs from screenings and an approximate 10 percent improvement in cancer detection using 3D compared with 2D mammography.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital breast imaging specialists are now using 3D mammography to screen women over 40 years of age. Digital 3D mammography is also used in follow-up exams when there has been a suspicious finding on a previous mammogram.
3D mammography is currently offered at the Lee Bell Center for Breast Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.