Screening and Early Detection Guidelines

Digital Mammography

Digital mammography is an imaging system where x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electronic signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen, printed on special film and paper, shared with other facilities through telemedicine or downloaded to a portable compact disc (CD) for your convenience.

How Does Digital Mammography Differ From Standard Mammography?

ACRIn standard mammography, images are recorded on film using an x-ray cassette. The film is viewed by the radiologist using a "light box" and then stored in a jacket in the facility's archives.

With digital mammography, the breast image is captured using a special electronic x-ray detector, which converts the image into a digital picture for review on a computer monitor. The digital mammogram is then stored on a computer. With digital mammography, the magnification, orientation, brightness, and contrast of the image may be altered after the exam is completed to help the radiologist more clearly see certain areas.

Digital mammography provides many benefits over standard film mammography.  These benefits include:

  • Improved contrast between dense and non-dense breast tissue.
  • Faster image recovery (less than a minute).
  • Shorter exam time (approximately half that of film-based mammography and fewer call backs and extra views.
  • Easier image storage.
  • Physician manipulation of breast images for more accurate detection of breast cancer.
  • Ability to correct under or over-exposure of films without having to repeat mammograms.
  • Transmittal of images over phone lines or a network for remote consultation with other physicians.
  • Possible reduction in radiation exposure.

How Does 3D Mammography Differ from Digital Mammography?

Digital mammography (two dimensional) relies on two images of each breast that can be electronically manipulated.  In comparison, tomosynthesis (three dimensional) collects multiple images, that when assembled, generates an enhanced image permitting greater visualization of lesions in dense breast tissue.  The breast is positioned in the same way as conventional mammography.  The x-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast and gathers a series of angular images (wedge-like sections).  This electronic information is sent to a computer where it is reconstructed into highly-focused three dimensional images of the breast.  Tomosynthesis has been found to improve screening and diagnostic accuracy in dense breasts resulting in fewer recalls for additional testing and fewer unnecessary biopsies.

We use digital technology to perform mammograms at the Breast Care Center on the main floor of the DePaul Pavilion within Lourdes Hospital, Vestal Mammography on Shipper’s Road in Vestal and within your community on the Mobile Mammography Van.


A Softer Mammogram

Lourdes is a Softer Mammogram Provider. We provide a soft foam cushion, called a MammoPad, free of charge for each woman's personal use during every mammogram. The MammoPad is placed on the compression plates of the mammography device and provides a softer, warmer mammogram.  Combining MammoPad with digital mammography, offers a “high-tech”, soft touch imaging experience for all women.

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