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Women's Imaging at SMH Goes Digital

Women undergoing routine mammograms at Stephens Memorial Hospital Women's Imaging Center now have the latest diagnostic technology available to them, digital mammography. 


Stephens Memorial Hospital (SMH) unveiled the state-of-the-art system, SeleniaTM digital mammography from HologicTM in December.  SMH is very excited to be able to offer the newest technology for breast cancer detection.  Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is acquired and, more importantly, viewed. 


"As radiologists, we are very excited with the acquisition of this new technology, because of its precise detection of breast cancer in patients with dense breasts compared to conventional mammography. We can magnify the images and increase or decrease the contrast when reading the images. These features allow the radiologist to better evaluate microcalcifications," Reynold Villedrouin, M.D., SMH Radiologist, shares.


Throughout the second week in December Women's Imaging Center staff participated in a week of training with an Hologic applications specialist. 



By offering women the latest technology in mammography, the staff at the Women's Imaging Center hopes to increase the number of women in the area who follow the recommendations for regular screenings.  One convenience of digital mammography is the reduction in the need for retakes due to over or under exposure, saving time and potentially reducing exposure to x-rays.  Digital images are easily stored, copied, and transmitted without the worry of loss of data.


From the patient's standpoint, they will not notice much of a difference in the way in which mammograms are performed, however, due to the short turnaround time it takes to have the images appear on the technologist's screen, patients may notice less time spent in the Women's Imagine Center.


Dawn Derenburger, RTRM, Lead Mammography Technologist, shares that SMH purchased equipment called DigitalNowTM from Hologic that enables technologists to scan in prior film mammograms and enhance the images so that the radiologist may compare this film image to the new digital mammogram in the future.  "The scanning of these older films allows the radiologists to compare apples to apples. It makes the films more consistent."


In addition, ImageCheckerTM CAD computer software was purchased, adding a secondary detection to assist radiologists in comparing the mammography studies.


"This new digital technology will provide both accuracy and increased ease of use for our patients." says Tim Ingram, Director of Clinical Diagnostics."Providing outstanding diagnostic equipment for patients is a vital step to good preventive health, and one we take very seriously."


"There are many advantages to a digital system. The images are clear and it offers an excellent view of the breast.  The digital image is ready to read much faster than with traditional x-rays. There is no longer a wait for films to be developed to be sure the images are usable. Digital mammograms take as little as half the time of film. And from a patient safety standpoint it uses less radiation exposure." This digital mammography equipment was funded in part by donations to the 2008 Annual Fund.





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