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The Breast Center at MDI Hospital has added a digital mammography unit that in addition to providing better image quality and improved patient comfort, exposes patients to nearly 35 percent less radiation than other equipment in Maine.

“The Selenia™ digital mammography unit is the latest generation in digital mammography technology,” said John Benson, M.D., Director of MDI Hospital’s Medical Imaging Department.

“By using a newly approved X-ray tube our unit enables a nearly 35 percent reduction in radiation exposure,” Dr. Benson added. “We waited to purchase this particular model to ensure that we could offer our patients this important feature,” added Dr. Benson.

Using a patented microprocessor, the unit is also able to generate a higher-quality mammographic image. “The image quality that we get with this new unit is amazing,” stated Dr. Benson.  “Because of the higher contrast, we’re able to see smaller details with much greater accuracy,” added Dr. Benson.

In addition, digital mammography takes less than half the time of traditional film-based exams so the image can be viewed in seconds, which Dr. Benson has found reduces patient anxiety. “Patients are very relieved that they don’t have to wait for the image,” explained Dr. Benson. “Our mammographers are able to review the images while the patient is in the examination room and make decisions about the need for additional images.”

Complimenting the new digital mammography unit is the ImageChecker® computer aided detection technology, which improves radiologists’ ability to pinpoint cancers by nearly twenty percent. “We’ve had the ImageChecker® for seven years,” explained Dr. Benson. “But applying this to our digital images should result in even higher performance.”

To enhance patient comfort, the Breast Center offers MammoPads®, a translucent foam cushion that sits between the equipment and the breast. MammoPads® are adhesive-backed, single-use, FDA-cleared cushions that have no effect on image quality. “Our patients tell us that the MammoPads increases their comfort greatly,” stated Dr. Benson.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.  Statistics demonstrate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97%. “In fact,” said Dr. Benson “recent evidence tells us that there has been a decline in the breast cancer mortality since screening mammography began. This is evidence that screening mammography saves lives,” he added.

“Our goal is to provide a comfortable environment that encourages women to come in and have this life-saving exam,” said Dr. Benson. “With the addition of this new digital mammography unit, we now offer a safer, more comfortable, more reliable way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage.”
 
For more information on the Breast Center at MDI Hospital’s new Selenia™ digital mammography unit, call 288-8435.

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