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Patient Control Added to 3D Mammography


November 05, 2020

Three-dimensional (3D) mammography is available throughout Kettering Health Network so patients can get preventative care close to home. New features aim to create a relaxing environment by giving patients control and ultimately increasing patient comfort for potentially stressful experience.

The difference from previous technology

The appointment flow has not changed much with the addition of 3D mammography, according to Gina Fass, Kettering Health Network mammographer. The mammographer still screens the patient before preparing  them for the examination.

The positioning of the patient is the same as with previous technology, but the corner of the machine is rounded for comfort’s sake, meaning there is no sharp corner digging into the patient’s armpit.  

The computer compiles the pictures taken and creates a 3D model. When the radiologist looks at the images, they can view one-millimeter slices of the breast tissue at a time.

“Before, we would have a lot of layers of breast tissues superimposed in one picture,” Fass says. “Now they can look layer by layer and evaluate each layer of the breast tissue.”

Previously the layers of breast tissue would overlap one another, but now technicians can pull the layers out and look at them individually.

Creating a relaxing environment 

The exam room is equipped with SensorySuite technology, where stress-relieving features make the experience as comfortable as possible.

There is a fragrance machine, monitors that show scenic images, and ambient sounds that match the pictures on the monitors.

“The research says if we can engage two or more of your senses, then your brain doesn’t register the discomfort of the exam as much,” Fass says. “All of those things together can make it a more comfortable experience for the patient.”

Patient-controlled pressure

Pristina Duetta is a self-compression remote control that allows the patient to control the amount of pressure applied by the machine.

“Once we get the patient into position, we apply the minimum amount of pressure needed for the radiologist to see things. Then the patient can use the remote control for additional compression to the breast. The patient is in control of that last little bit, so they know when it will stop,” Fass says. “We’re finding that when a patient has control, they’ll compress a little bit further than they let us because that level of anxiety has reduced a little bit.”

By compressing more, the radiologist will  get a clearer picture of the breast, which may make a follow-up ultrasound unnecessary.

Increased comfort for the patient

These elements added to the typical mammogram can make for more comfort. Though, Fass admits, mammograms are never going to be enjoyable for the patient.

“These little tweaks can make it a little more comfortable than it used to be,” Fass says. “Mammography is never going to be a comfortable experience. Anytime you squeeze a body part, there is going to be a level of discomfort. From what I’m hearing from patients, they like this new technology a little bit more.”

Misconceptions

With 3D mammography being new, there are some things people do not realize about the technology. Many people have misconceptions regarding 3D mammography that might keep them from trying the new package.  

  • Some believe the exam takes longer than past technology, but that is not true. The image capture can be slightly longer, but only by seconds.
  • Another thought is that insurance companies do not cover 3D mammography. However, this technology is becoming the new industry standard, and most companies do cover the exam.

Locations and availability

Three-dimensional (3D) mammography technology is available at many Kettering Health Network digital mammography locations.

If you’re ready to try 3D mammography technology yourself, schedule a mammogram today.