All of Delnor’s mammography is digital. Currently, this cutting edge technology is only available in eight percent of healthcare facilities in the nation. Digital mammography is similar to standard mammography in that X-rays are used to produce detailed images of the breast. The difference is that digital mammography is equipped with a digital receptor and generates computerized images immediately instead of a film cassette that needs to be developed into a film. A similar comparison is a standard camera to a digital camera.
Analog vs. Digital Mammography
Analog mammography uses X-ray to record images on film using an X-ray cassette. Films are then "developed" and produced and put on a light box and read by the radiologist. With digital mammography the X-rays produce a digital image on a screen while the patient is still in position. The technologist has the ability to review these in "real time" to determine image quality. Once completed the images are sent to the radiologist electronically at a reading station where they can manipulate, view and magnify areas of breast tissue. This enhances the information available for reading and interpretation. From the patient’s perspective there is little difference because the exam is conducted in a similar way except that the exam is shorter in length. Compression of the breast is required for both digital and analog mammography.
Is Digital a Better Technology?
While analog mammography is still a sound and reliable exam, digital mammography offers a new ability to process and view the images. This results in shorter exam time for the patient, and greater flexibility for the radiologist in interpreting the images. Much like a digital photo, the images can be enhanced, manipulated, and improved by the radiologist, so a digital mammogram can provide more information for diagnosis. Digital technology also offers better visibility of the entire breast. The capabilities of digital mammography result in fewer repeat views, which means less patient exposure.
What if I Have Dense Breasts?
If you have dense breast tissue, it is likely that digital mammography will provide better imaging quality for you with reduced radiation dose. This will be reviewed based upon your history and previous mammograms.
Does My Insurance Cover Digital Mammography and Digital CAD?
The coding and payment rates are different for analog and digital mammography. Medicare and most managed care/HMO plans cover digital mammography.
As with any exam, you are advised to check with your insurance company prior to coming for your mammogram.
R2 is short for "second radiologist" because this system provides a second, computer-assisted opinion to every mammogram that our radiologists read. R2 will aide in the detection of about 20% more breast cancers at an earlier and more treatable stage and give you greater assurance than ever that your normal mammogram is truly normal.
When will I learn the results of my Digital Mammogram?
Once your exam is complete, a radiologist will carefully evaluate the images and meticulously compare your current mammogram with prior exams in looking for any slight change. A written report of your results will be sent to your physician’s office within 72 hours of your test. You will also receive a letter from The Center for Breast Health within seven days of your test with your results. If you require a follow-up diagnostic mammogram, the radiologist will ensure that all necessary studies are performed to develop a conclusion, and we will discuss the findings with you before you leave. The results will also be given to you in writing, and your physician will receive a written report.
Schedule Your Appointment
The Center for Breast Health is located at 351 Delnor Drive, Suite 201, on the hospital campus. To schedule a tour, call (630) 208-4153. To schedule an appointment, call (630) 762-6400.