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The Latest on 3-D Mammography

Over the last several months, I've had many questions come my way about 3-D Mammography, also called Tomosnythesis. This is a new technique in mammographic imaging that can enhance the quality of a screening or diagnostic mammogram. A series of mammographic images are taken in an arc around the breast and a computer generates an image using a combination of all the these pictures. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 41% increase in the detection rate of invasive breast cancers. The study also reported a decreased "call-back" rate -- fewer women were called back to the imaging center for more images. However, it is unclear at the moment if this new technology translates directly to improved survival from breast cancer. It will take more research and prospective studies to truly answer this question. Currently, the technology seems to show promise when it comes to improved detection of suspicious findings in the breast, especially in dense tissue. However, this technology comes at a much higher cost compared with traditional digital mammography, and some insurance companies are not paying for the added expense. So, is 3-D Mammography ready for prime-time? Stay tuned...

Christopher A. Menendez, M.D. F.A.C.S.

Breast Surgical Oncologist

Northwest Arkansas Breast Care Specialists

701 S Horsebarn Rd, Suite 100

Rogers, AR 72758

Phone: (479) 876-8028

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