In 2018, the QEHC began using 3D technology for mammogram known as Tomosynthesis in its breast exams. This technology enables early detection of smaller invasive cancers and a reduction in recalls for additional views. Tomosynthesis improves patient care, translating into a higher probability of a successful outcome of a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast tomosynthesis, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) or three-dimensional (3-D) mammography, is an advanced type of mammography that utilizes low-dose x-rays and computer reconstruction to generate 3-D images of the breast. Its purpose is to detect and diagnose breast diseases at an early stage. X-ray examinations are essential for diagnosing and treating medical conditions. They employ a small amount of ionizing radiation to capture images of the inside of the body. While mammography is currently the best screening technique available for breast cancer, it is not foolproof and may not detect all cases. Breast tomosynthesis addresses some of mammography's limitations.
Mammography is a 2D imaging technique that captures two x-ray images of the breast, one from the top-to-bottom and another from the side-to-side angles. During the exam, the breast is compressed between an imaging detector and a clear plastic paddle. Although this compression is necessary for capturing breast images, it can lead to overlapping breast tissue. Overlapping tissue may obscure abnormal tissue or make normal overlapping tissue appear abnormal. Breast tomosynthesis overcomes these limitations by using an x-ray tube that moves in an arc over the compressed breast to take multiple images from different angles. A computer then synthesizes these digital images into a set of 3D images that minimize tissue overlap, making it easier to detect abnormalities.