BAR HARBOR — The Breast Center at Mount Desert Island Hospital is now offering patients the 3D mammogram, a more advanced mammography exam.
While 2D mammography takes a single image of the breast, this newer technology takes multiple pictures from many angles, giving doctors a more complete picture, said Philip J. Pizzola, director of medical imaging at MDI Hospital.
Also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, this 3D mammography system is the most advanced in the region that the FDA has approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone.
“Early detection is essential to achieving the best outcomes,” said Pizzola. “3D mammography is the gold standard for early detection for women across a variety of ages and breast densities, and can be especially beneficial for women who have dense breast tissue.”
The 3D mammogram is the only mammogram approved by the FDA as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. Nearly 50 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 74 have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue can make it difficult for doctors to detect breast cancer during annual screenings, which is concerning since patients with dense breasts can be more likely to develop breast cancer.
Because of its increased accuracy, 3D mammography also reduces the number of visits needed, which in turn reduces radiation overall.
Patients won’t notice much of a difference between a conventional 2D mammogram and a 3D mammogram, the real difference is in the information available to the doctor, said Pizzola.
“It’s essentially the difference between looking at the cover of a book and reading all of its pages.”
The exam takes about the same amount of time — a 3.7 second scan time — and the positioning is the same.