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Women’s Imaging

At Columbus Radiology we understand the vitally important role that diagnostics, testing and early detection play in maintaining a woman's overall health. We offer the finest and most advanced digital mammography services. In addition we have accreditations by the American College of Radiology for:

  • Breast Tomosynthesis
  • MRI
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy
  • Stereotactic needle biopsy

We partnered with Grant Medical Center to become one of the first imaging sites in the country to be named by the American College of Radiology as being a Breast Center of Excellence – there are only 174 nationally.

Breast Tomosynthesis

Breast Tomosynthesis, also called three-dimensional (3-D) mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), is an advanced form of breast imaging being used by many healthcare providers to examine breasts.  During this exam, multiple images of the breast are captured from different angle and reconstructed or “synthesized” into a three-dimensional image set. Large population studies have shown that screening with breast tomosynthesis results in improved breast cancer detection rates and fewer call-backs.

Digital mammography

Womans ImagingDigital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient's point of view, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film screen mammogram.

Research findings indicate that digital mammography was significantly better at detecting breast cancers than film mammography in three groups of women:

  • Women who were younger than 50
  • Women who had dense breasts
  • Women who were pre-menopausal or peri-menopausal (had had their last period within a year of their mammograms).

Breast MRI

MRI of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging modalities, such as mammography or ultrasound.

MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging but rather a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities.

Medical studies are currently being conducted to determine whether MRI and other imaging methods can contribute to the early detection and prevention of deaths from breast cancer.

MR imaging of the breast is performed to:

  • Assess multiple tumor locations, especially prior to breast conservation surgery.
  • Identify early breast cancer not detected through other means, especially in women with dense breast tissue and those at high risk for the disease.
  • Evaluate abnormalities detected by mammography or ultrasound.
  • Distinguish between scar tissue and recurrent tumors.
  • Determine whether cancer detected by mammography, ultrasound, or after surgical biopsy has spread further in the breast or into the chest wall.
  • Assess the effect of chemotherapy.
  • Provide additional information on a diseased breast to make treatment decisions.
  • Determine the integrity of breast implants.

Although breast imaging is often the major focus of women’s imaging, our radiologists provide the full spectrum of imaging related to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases unique to women. We are in position to alert women to risk factors, diagnostic tests, and treatments available for diseases beyond those related to the breast.

Why can't I just have an ultrasound to look for cancer and not have a mammogram?

A breast Ultrasound may be helpful in breast imaging; however it is not approved for use in screening for breast cancer. We utilize ultrasound in addition to a mammogram in cases where a patient may have a specific lump in their breast or in cases where a questionable area is seen on a mammogram. We also use ultrasound first in young women under age 30 who have a specific lump in their breast. We do not use breast ultrasound to look at the whole breast instead of using mammography.

Does the compression from the mammogram cause breast cancer?

No the compression of breast tissue needed for a mammogram does not cause breast cancer.

I have implants, will the mammogram rupture them?

If you have implants we will take images that include the implant and we do not compress on those images. We then take images called implant displacement images, and for these images we compress the breast tissue that is lying in front of the implant, and we use less compression.

Why is there a chance I may have to come in for another mammogram or a breast ultrasound?

When you have a screening mammogram, the radiologist may feel that there is an area that is questionable or possible abnormal; the radiologist will recommend additional mammogram images or possibly an ultrasound. This occurs in about 5-10 % of screening mammograms. Once you return for the additional imaging you will usually receive verbal results at the time of imaging.

What is CAD?

Computer-aided detections or CAD is a system that has been developed that analyzes a mammogram and marks areas that the algorithms may show to be abnormal. The radiologist makes the final decision and interprets the mammogram. CAD is similar to a spell checker on a computer, it marks words that the software feel may be misspelled, however it is up to the writer to determine if the word is really wrong or if it is correct.

What is a digital mammogram?

A digital mammogram system changes the way the image is processed. The image is processed through a computer and stored on a computer rather than on film. The image is faster because we no longer have to wait for films to be processed using developer and fixer chemicals. In addition to speeding up the process time, digital mammography also improves the quality of images and provides the radiologist with more information. Think of a digital camera versus a 35 mm cameral with film. You can almost instantly see the image versus taking the film to the store and waiting for the developing of the films before you can see the pictures.

I thought there was a new mammogram where you did not have to be compressed (squished)?

All mammogram systems involve the use of compression.

Why do you have to compress?

Compression is needed to help spread the breast tissue out, this makes the mammogram clearer and easier to interpret, it helps keep the breast very still so no motion is seen on the image, and also less radiation is needed to penetrate the breast tissue.

What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic?

A screening mammogram is ordered for someone who is not having any problems and is having the mammogram as part of their routine check up.
A diagnostic mammogram is ordered on someone who is having a new problem or symptom in their breast or in some patients who have a history of breast cancer.
The initial images that are taken are the same, however with a screening mammogram the images are checked for technical quality and the patient is allowed to leave, if additional images are needed the patient is called and asked to return for the additional images or ultrasound.

During a diagnostic mammogram a radiologist (physician) will review the images before a patient leaves the clinic and if additional images or ultrasound are needed they will be done at that time.