Through a generous grant benefactor, Mercy Medical Center-Centerville has invested $430,000 in a new digital mammography system, which has shown to be more sensitive than traditional film mammography at detecting cancer in younger women and women with dense breast tissue.
The unit, a Hologic Dimensions is a state of the art system. The Dimensions unit has a newer detection technology that is better than most digital systems. It is also fully upgradable to do stereotactic biopsies on the machine and tomography ready. Currently this is only the third unit of its kind in the state of Iowa.
“We have been planning to upgrade our system for some time, but the grant donation has allowed us to go from a basic unit, which I call would call the Pinto to the Cadillac version,” said Kevin Bradley, director of Radiology Services.
Bradley noted that the digital unit provides clearer images which mean that abnormalities or cancer in the breast may be detected sooner. When reading the result of a digital mammogram, the radiologist is better able to manipulate the image to see through the breast more clearly. If there are calcifications, for instance, they can be enhanced or magnified. This aids in determining whether further examinations of suspicious areas are necessary.
“For the patient digital mammography feels identical to conventional screenings, though women will notice shorter exam times and a reduction in return visits to obtain additional imaging,” Bradley said. The digital medium also gives physicians and patients electronic access to images or images can be put on CD similar to all other radiology tests at the hospital.
The women’s diagnostic area at Mercy provides mammography and biopsy as well as bone density screening all in one suite for the convenience of the patient. Mercy has two registered female mammography technicians on staff and four board certified radiologists.
Through the new service, Mercy has committed to increasing the number of women in Appanoose County who receive mammography screenings by 30 percent over the next three years. This means increasing mammographys at the hospital from 1,200 on average each year to 1,560.