Advancements in Mammography

Mammography is one of the necessary tests physicians use to detect the early stages of breast cancer and other breast diseases. Fortunately, mammogram technology has advanced rapidly within the last few years and has positively impacted women’s health and wellness.

Radiological mammography has been in use through most of the 1900s, but the FDA didn’t approve digital mammography until 2000. The digital technology advancement opened up a whole new world for physicians to diagnose breast cancer earlier. Digital mammography accesses computer technology to enhance the X-ray images of the breast.

After digital mammography came into use, 3D breast imaging technology emerged in 2011. The 3D digital mammography (also known as 3D tomosynthesis) is where a technician takes multiple breast images from different angles. The technician then processes these images using computer software to create a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast.

With a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast, a radiologist can analyze the imaging slice-by-slice in great detail. This process has reduced many of the physician’s false-positive diagnoses given to women and reduced the stress of call-back appointments.

Since the 3D technology, companies have developed more advanced mammography equipment, tests, and computer-aided diagnosis systems (CAD). Researchers also have advanced imaging tools like whole breast ultrasound (WBUS) and magnetic resonance imaging  (MRI) to aid the mammography process.

Physicians may recommend patients perform regular year-to-year screening mammograms so any changes in the patient’s breast that may cause concern can be detected. A physician orders a diagnostic mammogram when the screening mammogram shows an abnormality or if the patient notes other extraordinary symptoms.

 

A diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram, except the technician will take more images using more positions to get more explicit photos of the area. A diagnostic mammogram can define if a biopsy is needed.

Throughout mammogram use, the human eye has been depended on to detect abnormalities in a patient’s breast X-rays, leading to false positives and false negative exams. With the advancements in equipment, technology, and software, radiologists can detect any abnormality in breast tissue with more certainty.

Increased research and equipment advancements in mammograms have also decreased patients’ exposure to radiation. Studies have concluded that the benefits of mammograms nearly always outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure. However, patients should always disclose to the X-ray technicians if they are pregnant or have other health issues at risk by using any level of radiation.

Newer mammography imaging tests help physicians diagnose the smallest of tumors and most minimal cell defects. These tests include positron emission mammography (PEM), optical imaging, electrical impedance tomography (EIT), and molecular breast imaging (MBI).

Positron emission mammography (PEM) is a scan that uses sugar attached to a radioactive particle to look for cancer cells. This test is sometimes a replacement for an MRI.

 

detecting breast cancer

Optical imaging is a test where technicians monitor the light passed into the woman’s breast and compare it to the measurement of light passing through the breast tissue. An altered reading of light will detect an area of the breast that warrants further exploration. Researchers are using this test with MRIs or 3D mammograms.

 

Since breast cancer cells conduct electricity differently than normal cells, physicians sometimes use electrical impedance tomography (EIT) as a diagnostic tool. During the test, a technician passes a bit of current through the patient’s breast and looks for changes with small electrodes applied to the skin.

Another test that researchers have developed is molecular breast imaging (MBI). This test is used with mammograms for women who have dense breasts. Doctors inject a radioactive drug into a patient’s vein, and the drug attaches to cancer cells, and a special camera can locate those cancer cells through the imaging process.

Researchers are continuing their efforts to improve mammogram results. Safe and effective screening and diagnostic mammograms will continue to improve survival statistics for women no matter what their genetic makeup, family history, or any other risk factor may indicate.

 Vesta Teleradiology

At Vesta, our US Board Certified Radiologists are trained to read mammography scans as well as an entire host of other types of diagnostic imaging results. Look to us to support your team. Learn more about our teleradiology services here.

5 Tips for Women’s Wellness Healthcare Facility

The fitness and wellness industry has become one of the biggest markets in the world. If you are the owner of a women’s health or wellness center, there is great potential for growth in this $3.4 trillion industry. This competitive industry is constantly creating new approaches to attract patients. If you are searching for new ideas to enhance your wellness center and the care for your patients, here are 5 tips for increasing patient flow.

  1. teleradiology service for women's clinicOffer educational workshops and speakers. Being able to have a cup of coffee and listen to an informed speaker on a subject of interest can bring in more patients. Those who want to help themselves or improve their life will like this approach. Stress-free opportunities to listen and learn about money management, cooking, gardening, yoga, fashion, or more could entice women with enjoying a nonthreatening space to absorb information. These could be mini-breakout sessions of an upcoming wellness conference which may interest participants to attend.
  2. Bundle services. Having one facility that offers multiple services is attractive. Women are busy. Their time is valuable. If there was an opportunity to make one stop to take care of a mammogram, pedicure, and haircut (for example) many women would like this option. In addition, having a nonjudgmental environment to talk to a therapist on a variety of topics such as mental health issues, menopause, and sexual health could bring in more patients.
  3. Act as a safehouse. Employing experienced professionals who have the awareness and abilities to support women in crisis is needed in every city in the world. Doctors, psychologists, and lawyers on site who are in place to readily protect and prevent violence against women and their children will attract patients. Partnering with local authorities may bring wellness center funding opportunities.
  4. Incorporate wellness retreats. Offering purposeful, affordable, well designed retreats for specific groups allows wellness opportunities beyond the wellness center facility. Programs organized with the intentional components of mental, emotional, physical, and social can provide transformational experiences for patients. These deep connections can be life changing and create interest in future retreats.
     
  5. Outsource your radiology imaging needs to a reliable teleradiology service. With this service, a patient can have her mammogram, ultrasound, or other imaging service performed, screened, and sent digitally to all parties involved. The image and its information is compressed and encrypted and stored in a database server accessed by the radiologist, provider, transcriber, and other workers across geographically diverse facilities. The final report is automatically sent to the doctor and the original facility. This saves time and allows you to focus more on attracting new patients.

ultrasound
Vesta Teleradiology has been assisting Women’s Wellness centers, hospitals, mobile imaging, assisted living and other imaging centers for nearly 15 years. It’s not just our speedy service and accurate readings from US Board Certified radiologists, it’s our ability to help you customize the service to tailor it to your facility and patients. Look to Vesta if you want accuracy, speed, affordability, support and customization.