What is digital mammography?
How is it different from conventional (film) mammography?
Both digital and conventional mammography use x-rays to produce an image of the breast; however, conventional mammography stores the image directly on film, whereas digital mammography takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it directly in a computer. This allows the recorded information to be enhanced, magnified, or manipulated for further evaluation. The difference between conventional mammography and digital mammography is like the difference between a traditional film camera and a digital camera. Aside from the difference in how the image is recorded and stored, there is no other difference between the two.
Because digital mammography allows a radiologist to electronically adjust, store, and retrieve digital images, digital mammography may offer the following advantages over conventional mammography:
▪ Health care providers can share image files electronically, making long-distance consultations with other mammography specialists easier.
▪ Subtle differences between normal and abnormal tissues may be more easily noted.
▪ The number of follow-up procedures needed may be fewer.
▪ Fewer repeat images may be needed, reducing the exposure to radiation.
In January 2000, the FDA approved the use of digital mammography in the United States. In September 2005, preliminary results from a large clinical trial that compared digital mammography to film mammography were published. These findings showed no difference between digital and film mammograms in detecting breast cancer in the general population of women in the trial. However, the researchers concluded that women with dense breasts who are premenopausal or perimenopausal (women who had their last menstrual period within 12 months of their mammograms) or who are younger than age 50 may benefit from having a digital rather than a film mammogram.
Some health care providers recommend that women who have a very high risk of breast cancer, such as those with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene alterations, have digital mammograms instead of conventional mammograms.
Digital mammography can be done only in facilities that are certified to practice conventional mammography and have received FDA approval to offer digital mammography. The procedure for having a mammogram with a digital system is the same as with conventional mammography.
Is the Diagnostic Breast Center an accredited Facility?
Yes, all of the modalities at the Diagnostic Breast Center have been accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Why is it important to be ACR accredited?
ACR accreditation programs provide a high level of confidence for patients, referring physicians, and managed care organizations that only the highest quality care is being provided by accredited facilities.