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Published on October 10, 2014

New mammography at UHS offers a 3D view

The UHS Breast Center is one of the first facilities in New York State to offer digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as three-dimensional mammography.

“This newest form of mammography is another advanced tool we are happy to offer for the diagnosis of breast cancer,” said Matthew J. Salanger, president and chief executive officer of UHS. “It is an example of how UHS continually strives to employ the latest technology in fighting disease and improving the quality of people’s lives.”

While mammograms remain the first line of defense in the early detection of breast cancer, they show a two-dimensional image of the entire compressed breast.

For some women – especially those with very dense breasts – it is often difficult for radiologists to determine if certain anomalies on mammograms are malignancies or just normal breast tissue that is too dense to see clearly.

This situation may lead to a significant number of false positives, meaning that there appears to be evidence of a malignancy, requiring further diagnostic imaging, which then reveals no malignancy.

“With the new 3D mammography, dozens of digital images of the breast can be taken from several angles and synthesized through a computer using tomosynthesis, creating a 3D image of the breast,” said Michael Farrell, MD, breast surgeon at UHS. “This technology enables doctors to see inside breast anomalies with far more clarity.”

The biggest advantage of tomosynthesis is that it reduces or eliminates the need for additional diagnostic mammograms, which can reduce or eliminate a lot of anxiety for patients and their families, Dr. Farrell said. Currently, the technology is being used primarily for diagnostic mammograms at the UHS Breast Center.

Decisions about which patients may benefit from 3D are driven by clinical indications and collaboration between referring providers and the UHS Breast Center team.

As more machines and capacity are added over the next year, more patients who may benefit from this technology will be advised to take advantage of it.

The new technology has been funded in part through a generous donation from the UHS Foundation.

For more information about the technology, women are encouraged to talk with their doctors or call the UHS Breast Center at 763-5523.