Digital Mammography

Women who undergo routine mammograms at Monroe County Hospital will have the latest diagnostic technology available to them: digital mammography!

Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is acquired and, more importantly, viewed. With the digital technology, the radiologist can magnify the images, increase or decrease the contrast, rotate the image or invert the black and white values while reading the images. These features allow the physician to evaluate micro calcifications and focus on areas of concern. The high-resolution digital images are sharper and clearer than film mammograms, further aiding in the detection of breast cancer at its earliest stages. Digital storage of the images also makes them more accessible for comparison with previous studies, an essential part of the reading and interpreting process.

To support this new technology, Monroe County Hospital has added a digital computer-aided detection (CAD) system. This system highlights common characteristics of breast cancer, including masses, clusters of micro calcifications and changes in breast tissue, also called architectural distortion. CAD flags these abnormalities to help the radiologist detect breast cancer early.

The testing procedure looks and feels just like a traditional mammogram, with a couple of important exceptions: exam times are often shorter and reports are usually produced faster.

Despite recent controversies about screening guidelines, routine mammograms are still one of the best methods available for monitoring breast health in women as they age and their risk of breast cancer climbs. Digital mammography is particularly helpful for women under age 50, those who are peri-menopausal or who have dense breast tissue.

To schedule an exam with a doctor's prescription, call the Radiology Department at 478-994-2521.