3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis)

University Hospitals Offers the Latest Innovations in Mammography with Digital Breast 3-D Screening

University Hospitals is the first health care provider in Northern Ohio to offer tomosynthesis, advanced three-dimensional breast imaging, for the earliest detection of breast cancer.

This new type of mammography produces a 3-D image of the breast, providing doctors with a clearer view through overlapping breast tissue. The result is a more detailed picture, making breast abnormalities easier to see, even in dense tissue.

Tomosynthesis improves the radiologists' ability to detect potential breast cancers by helping to pinpoint the size, shape and location of abnormalities. This helps the radiologist distinguish harmless structures from tumors, leading to fewer false positives, fewer call-backs and less anxiety for women.

Tomosynthesis builds upon the success of digital mammography and was recently shown to improve rate of cancer detection and reduce the number of unnecessary call-backs in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2014. Experts believe that this method will soon become the gold standard in breast cancer screening and detection. It is now used as a complement to conventional 2-D mammography for patients receiving a screening mammogram.

Advanced 3-D Mammography Can Lead To Easier, Earlier Detection of Breast Cancer

Conventional mammography images the entire breast in one exposure, which can result in abnormalities remaining hidden by overlapping tissue. Tomosynthesis, like a computed tomography (CT) scan, takes images from multiple angles and uses computer processing to build these “slices” into a three-dimensional image that a radiologist can manipulate, examining each slice individually for a more thorough examination. The resulting advantages include:

  • Easier detection: By reducing the effects of overlapping breast tissue which can hide small tumors, tomosynthesis can make a breast abnormality easier to see.
  • Fewer callbacks: Tomosynthesis can help radiologists reduce false alarms. For example, a three-dimensional view can prove that a spot that looked questionable in a mammogram screening is really no cause for concern. This leads to fewer callbacks, additional scans and biopsies.
  • Earlier detection: With tomosynthesis, additional images of the breast are taken and synthesized into a 3-D data set, much like a CT scan. This finer detail works to detect cancers earlier than standard mammography.
  • Better visualization: Three-dimensional images help radiologists see the size, shape and location of an abnormality. In a 2-D mammogram, it could be hidden.
  • More comprehensive care: When cancer is detected in one breast, 15 percent of women have another tumor in the same breast or in the other breast. Tomosynthesis screens the whole breast, not just the problem area.

What to Expect From a Tomosynthesis Exam

A tomosynthesis exam may be used as a screening tool in conjunction with traditional 2-D digital mammography. As with a digital mammogram, the technologist will take images from different angles.

During the tomosynthesis portion of the exam, the X-ray arm of the mammography machine makes a quick arc over the breast, taking a series of breast images at a number of angles.

The whole procedure should take approximately the same amount of time as that of a traditional digital mammogram, and the patient experience is very similar.

Convenient Locations for 3-D Mammography

We offer digital breast tomosynthesis at the following University Hospitals locations:

UH Cleveland Medical Center
Breen Breast Health Pavilion
11100 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

UH Ahuja Medical Center
3999 Richmond Road
Beachwood, Ohio 44122

UH Elyria Medical Center
630 E River Street
Elyria, OH 44035

UH Geauga Medical Center
13207 Ravenna Road
Chardon, Ohio 44024

UH Parma Medical Center
Outpatient Center
6305 Powers Boulevard
Parma, Ohio 44129

St. John Medical Center
29000 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

Southwest General Health Center
18697 Bagley Road
Middleburg Heights, Ohio 44130

UH Chagrin Highlands Health Center
Chagrin Highlands Breast Center
3909 Orange Place, Suite 4400
Orange Village, Ohio 44122

UH Fairlawn Health Center
3800 Embassy Parkway
Fairlawn, Ohio 44333

UH Westlake Health Center
Radiology/Mammography Department
960 Clague Road, Suite 1300
Westlake, Ohio 44145

Other mammography locations affiliated with University Hospitals offer full-field digital mammography (2-D).

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