Greenwich Hospital completes conversion to 3-D mammography

Greenwich Hospital has converted all its mammography equipment to 3-D units, which offer improved cancer detection.

Digital 3-D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, is offered at the Breast Center at the Smilow Cancer Hospital Greenwich Campus, as well as at Greenwich Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Center at 2015 West Main Street in Stamford.

Greenwich Hospital Breast Center is a national leader in early breast cancer detection, with patient survival rates of 99%, 96.1% and 89.6% among Stages 0, I and II patients respectively, surpassing national averages.

Digital 3-D mammography takes conventional 2-D images along with 15 images in an arc, which are then reconstructed into one-mm slices. The radiologist can then scroll through the images one “slice” at a time, in addition to looking at the conventional 2-D images.

“With the conversion to 3-D mammography, the hospital’s Breast Center continues to stay at the forefront of diagnostic technology,” Barbara Ward, MD, breast surgeon and medical director of the center, said. “Always striving to offer the newest and most effective screening methods continues to benefit our patients — a fact evidenced by the center’s high early detection rates.”

A study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that conventional digital mammography, when combined with 3-D tomosynthesis technology, can lead to an increase in cancer detection by as much as 33%. The total radiation dose with breast tomosynthesis is slightly higher than with 2-D alone, but due to advances in digital technology, it is well below federal safety standards. The study also noted a 10 to 20% reduction in the need to recall patients for further testing, an improvement that decreases patient anxiety and reduces healthcare costs.

The 3-D screenings are more expensive and the additional cost is not always covered by health insurance. At this time, Greenwich Hospital is not charging patients any additional fee for the service.

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