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New Directions

Issue: Summer

3D Mammography Now Available for Breast Imaging

Dr. H. Hannah, Kim, MD, medical director of breast imaging, reviews a 3D digital mammography scan.
The radiologists of Drs. Groover, Christie, & Merritt (GCM), who provide breast imaging services for the Suburban Hospital Breast Program, have introduced a new technology for the detection of breast cancer.

Three-dimensional digital mammography, or tomosynthesis, uses a computer algorithm to turn digital images of the breast, obtained at various angles, into very thin slices, allowing radiologists to view the breast tissue in layers.

“Using 3D mammography allows radiologists to look at the breast layer by layer, helping us to see fine details that may otherwise be obscured by overlapping tissues,” says H. Hannah Kim, M.D., medical director of breast imaging. “It’s analogous to looking at a book page by page, as opposed to looking at just the cover of the book.” With enhanced visualization of the breast tissue, radiologists are able to better identify suspicious findings, including the size, shape and location of a possible tumor.”

A recently published large-scale scientific study evaluating the addition of 3D mammography to a 2D digital mammography exam in the screening population found a 27 percent overall increase in detection of breast cancers and a 40 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers. There was also a 15 percent decrease in the false positive rate, which not only reduces patient anxiety, but also saves the patient from unnecessary diagnostic procedures including additional mammograms.

“We believe this new technology may be of particular benefit for women with a strong family history of breast cancer and those with dense breasts,” adds Dr. Kim. “However, we are also seeing value for fatty breast tissue, as well.”

Patients may request 3D mammography when they schedule their screening mammogram. There is an additional $50 fee that is not currently covered by insurance but is eligible to be reimbursed by flexible medical spending accounts.

GCM-Suburban Imaging is located in the Johns Hopkins Health Care and Surgery Center at 6420 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda. To schedule your 3D mammogram, call 301-897-5656.

To Learn More | For more information on 3D mammography visit gcmradiology.com.

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