Digital Mammography to Diagnose and Detect Breast Diseases in Women

Mammography is an imaging technique that uses low dose x-ray system to diagnose and detect breast diseases in women. Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is one of the most recent advances in mammography. Digital mammography is similar to conventional mammography in that x-rays are used to produce images of the breast; however, in this technology the x-ray film is replaced by solid state detectors that convert x-rays to electrical signals. These images can be displayed on the computer screen. This latest technique shows that the overall radiation dose associated with digital mammography is significantly lower than that of conventional film mammography. The radiation can be reduced by up to 50% with results as accurate as conventional mammography.

In this imaging technique, the breast image is captured using a special electronic x-ray detector, which converts the image into a digital picture. With digital imaging, the image characteristics such as brightness, contrast, magnification and orientation can be adjusted to help the radiologist during diagnosis.

The key advantage of digital mammography is the ability to manipulate the image electronically. This technology offers range of practical advantages and patient conveniences such as:
  • No waiting for the film to be developed and the radiologist can evaluate the images as they are taken. The digital images are immediately available. The patient spends less time in the exam room
  • Image features can be adjusted to see subtle differences between tissues
  • The digital images are easy to store and can be retrieved easily
  • Digital technology provides a platform for new technologies such as CAD software for early detection of breast cancer
  • Improved contrast between dense and non-dense breast tissue
  • Ability to correct under or over-exposure of films without having to repeat mammograms
Although digital mammography systems are 1.5 to 4 times costlier than standard mammography equipments, this technology is gradually getting acceptance globally.

 


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