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New Digital Mammography Equipment


All-Digital Mammograms and Related Equipment Make Mammography Faster, More Comfortable and More Accurate

Like many things in life, getting a mammogram is something you know is important to do, yet it’s also something you don’t relish actually doing. The time it takes for the exam itself, the discomfort and the waiting for results are all factors women cite as reasons to dislike the mammogram process.

New equipment at Simi Valley Hospital’s Nancy Reagan Breast Center is helping to address all of those factors, making the mammogram experience much more pleasant for most patients. In operation since late winter, the GE Senograph Essential direct digital mammography units and related equipment offer faster exams, a lower dose of radiation, typically less discomfort and more rapid results.

“In the past, when film was used to make an image of the breast, the exam could take 20 to 25 minutes,” said Katherine Hillard, director of diagnostic imaging at Simi Valley Hospital. “Now that everything is fully digital, it typically takes just six to seven minutes for a screening mammogram, then the patient can be on her way.”

In addition to being shorter, the mammography process is now more comfortable. The Nancy Reagan Breast Center uses “flex paddles” to compress the breast during the imaging process.

“The new paddles enable us to get more uniform compression, and patients report less discomfort than with conventional paddles,” Hillard said.

Image quality with the new system is also greatly improved, she said, enabling radiologists to see the structures within the breast more clearly than ever before.

Digital Assistance

Also new at the Nancy Reagan Breast Center is computer-aided detection (CAD), a digital “second eye” for the review of mammogram images. CAD’s sophisticated software helps to pinpoint potential areas of concern on the mammogram, flagging them for closer review by a radiologist.

“A radiologist looks at every mammogram image,” Hillard said. “The CAD system helps him or her in that task. As a result, we’re able to eliminate the need for a second radiologist to review screening mammograms, which can cut an entire day out of the time it takes to get the results of the exam.”

CAD is used with all types of mammograms. For diagnostic mammograms (taken when symptoms are present) and follow-up mammograms, two radiologists review the images.

To schedule your mammogram at the Nancy Reagan Breast Center, call (805)-955-6122.