Women who undergo routine mammograms at Mayo Clinic Health System have the latest diagnostic technology available to them — digital mammography.
Digital mammography, also known as 3D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis, is a best practice in women’s health for breast cancer-detecting technology. Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is viewed and, more importantly, manipulated. The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They also can adjust brightness, contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses and other changes that may be signs of early cancer.
This X-ray technology decreases the amount of radiation you receive and improves image quality. It allows breast tissue to be viewed in individual segments, giving greater detail for doctors to evaluate glandular tissue, which decreases your chance of getting a call to come back for another screening to confirm findings.
Digital mammography feels identical to conventional screening from a patient’s perspective, though you may notice shorter exam times. Digital images are also easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films, which can be misfiled or lost in transit.
CAD (computer-aided diagnosis)
Also known as second look, this technology helps radiologists detect breast cancer earlier by highlighting characteristics commonly associated with breast cancer. When activated, it flags abnormalities to help the radiologist detect breast cancer. CAD is, in essence, a second set of eyes to support and enhance the radiologist’s judgment.