The Johns Hopkins Department of Radiology is expanding its breast imaging services with the use of a new technology, tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography.
This progressive technology is currently available at Johns Hopkins Imaging’s Green Spring Station. Breast tomosynthesis obtains a series of images that are reconstructed into thin 1-millimeter slices creating a 3-dimensional mammogram. 3-D mammography complements standard 2-D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. Previous research shows that mammography with 2-D imaging together with tomosynthesis is associated with improved breast cancer detection and a reduction in the number of so-called “false positives” (tissue overlap that initially appears to be suspicious but then is found to be normal) by approximately 40 percent.
“3-D mammography greatly improves our ability to detect breast cancer,” says Susan C. Harvey, M.D., director, Section of Breast Imaging at the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins. “Radiologists will be able to detect smaller cancers that have not yet spread and these will be curable cancers. We will see more women survive with less aggressive surgical treatment as well as decrease the need for chemo and radiation treatments.”
Harvey says the technology’s improved accuracy both decreases the likelihood of unnecessary additional imaging to rule out disease, and increases cancer detection compared to standard digital mammograms where overlap of breast tissue can obscure cancers. 3-D mammography allows radiologists to scroll through the breast tissue like pages in a book.
The American Cancer Society continues to recommend yearly mammography for women, starting at age 40.