Digital mammography is an advanced diagnostic procedure that creates cycle create images with greater accuracy while decreasing the biopsies and rates of recall. It is considered the perfect breast imaging standard that has rendered more efficient and reliable results.
Nevertheless, before you opt for digital mammography, it is extremely important to weigh down the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure to make an informed decision. Read on to explore more about digital mammography in detail!
What is Digital Mammography?
Digital mammography, or full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is an advanced or specialized mammography that uses computers and digital receptors instead of regular X-ray films to determine the breast tissue for cancer.
The electric signals exhibited by the device can be viewed on the computer screens. However, similar to the X-ray procedure, mammograms also use a low dose of ionizing ration to produce images of the internal structure of your breast tissues. The physician can further analyze it to identify any abnormalities in the breast tissues.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Digital Mammography?
Experts from the American Cancer Society recommend that women aged between 45 and 54 get digital mammograms yearly. In certain cases, the performance of the mammogram depends on an individual’s health status and risk factors.
- Below the age of 50 years, despite the density level of their breast tissues
- Of any age group, especially when they have dense or extremely dense breast tissues.
- Of any age with pre- or per0 menopausal condition. (It indicates the women in their final menstrual stage within a year of their mammogram procedure.
How to Prepare for the Digital Mammography?
There are no specific instructions to follow for digital mammography. It is always advisable to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes. Before scheduling the digital mammogram, consult your healthcare professional for any advice or suggestions. However, avoid the procedure a week before the menstrual cycle since the breasts will be more tender and sensitive.
What Happens During Digital Mammography?
Are there any Risks Involved in Digital Mammography?
Similar to other X-ray procedures, exposure to a low radiation dose may cause little to no radiation. However, the risk is extremely low with digital mammography. Moreover, one should always inform the technician or radiologist if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What to Expect After Digital Mammography?
After receiving the restful, your physician will interpret the images to create a personalized and effective treatment plan. You may also have to undergo follow-up appointments with your healthcare professional for additional evaluation with other special imaging techniques. The physical will suggest you undergo another session to detect whether the treatment is showing results.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Mammography
Digital mammography technology has evolved to offer women accurate diagnose and breast cancer patients with desired outcomes. With the advanced procedure, you can easily store the digital images of the breast tissues on a computer rather than the traditional film or print. However, it comes with certain risks and expenses. Let us discuss the pros and cons of digital mammography.
Benefits of Digital Mammography
- It Provides Superior Diagnostic Accuracy
The digital mammography machine is well-equipped with innovative technology that provides greater image solutions. This will, in turn, allow you to have a greater level of detail and a distinctive view of the breast tissue of the patient to enhance diagnostic accuracy at relevant doses. Nowadays, technician uses CAD (Computer Aided Detection) that automatically detect areas of abnormalities or concerns. The results will be linked to electrical health records for easy access.
- It Involves Lower Radiation Dosage
Digital mammography provides more views and intricated details of the breast tissue than the standard film mammogram, with less than average radiation. It is because even the smallest region of the breast can be analyzed with a separate view. Simply put, the amount of radiation involved in digital type is considered safe and has little to no side effects in patients.
- It is a Time-Efficient Process
A digital mammogram is also well-known for its fast results, which are available immediately for the analysis by the physicians. There is no need to spend time in film development like in the traditional procedure. The technician can view the results on the computer screen during the examination. They can also be customized to enlarge to focus on particular areas. Adding or reducing the contrast to decipher healthy breast tissue from abnormal tissues is also possible.
Drawbacks of Digital Mammography
- It is More Expensive Than Traditional Mammography
The digital mammogram costs more than the standard film system. The time saved during the procedure would meet this expense for the advanced facilities. Nonetheless, it is insufficient to justify breast cancer detection’s benefits.
- It has Reduced Spatial Resolution
Having a less spatial resolution feature is another limitation of digital mammography. It is resolved by the digital geometric magnification to boost the projected calcification images beyond the lowest resolution limit.
There is also an issue where the image magnification power on the monitor is not an alternative for real geometric magnification with improved focus. Moreover, digital technology will demand more patient recall for additional requirements with improved images with great geometric magnification.
- It Still Poses Certain Challenges
Digital mammography, despite its advantages, has specific difficulties due to its sensitive nature to ambient temperature compared to analog systems. Analog units are an area where the film-screen mode has superior quality than the digital type. Hence individuals with large breasts must undergo patchwork patterns to capture, which is difficult to read.