by Arnold Koriakin, DO
3-D mammograms have been shown to detect more cancer cases than the standard mammogram, according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association*.
This fall, Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center began offering 3-D mammography to patients in the surrounding communities. With the addition of these facilities, Novant Health now has 12 locations offering this new technology
Dr. Arnold Koriakin, a radiologist with Triad Radiology and medical director of mammography services at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, provided insight about how 3-D mammography works.
The 3-D mammography technology allows a woman’s breast to be imaged from multiple angles. The angled images provide 1-millimeter-thin snapshots of the breast tissue that, collectively, provide radiologists a more detailed, three-dimensional view than standard two-dimensional mammograms.
Koriakin said the new technology allows providers to have better visibility and more accurately detect cases of breast cancer.
“In the past, a standard image would be two images of each breast,” Koriakin said. “With the 3-D mammogram, the procedure is the same, but the camera rotates and takes multiple photos so we get a seamless view of the breast.”
“It helps us pick up small cancers that we otherwise would have missed,” he said. “It also reduces call backs and anxiety for patients.”
What to expect.
Most women wouldn’t notice much difference between a 3-D mammogram and a standard digital mammogram. “The examination itself is almost identical for patients,” Koriakin said. “It just takes about four seconds longer per view.”
During a 3-D mammogram, an X-ray tube moves in an arc over the patient and takes multiple low-dose images that are regenerated by a computer. After 3-D imaging is complete, the machine will move back to the center and take the regular two-dimensional, or standard, mammogram pictures.
Why you might need one.
Women who would most greatly benefit from tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography are those with dense breasts and those who have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Contrary to popular belief, what constitutes “dense breasts” has nothing to do with breast size. Breast tissue is made of both fatty tissue and glandular tissue, the latter of which causes the density.
“When you have dense breast tissue, it can be difficult to see little masses or things hiding within the dense tissue,” Koriakin said. “3-D mammography allows us to look through the entire breast and detect more cases of cancer.”
Visit NovantHealth.org/gopink to schedule your mammogram appointment. Same-day and walk-in appointments are available. If you think 3-D mammography is appropriate for you, simply request it when you call. Depending on your insurance plan, additional fees may apply.
*Friedewald SM, Rafferty EA, Rose SL, Durand MA, Plecha DM, Greenberg JS, Hayes MK, Copit DS, Carlson KL, Cink TM, Barke LD, Greer LN, Miller DP, Conant EF. Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination With Digital Mammography. JAMA. 2014;311(24):2499–2507. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.6095