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Digital Mammograms at University of Colorado Hospital

The Breast Center at University of Colorado Hospital uses two state-of-the-art digital imaging machines to perform mammograms. UCH implemented this digital process in Fall 2008 to improve diagnostic accuracy as well as your satisfaction as a patient.

[scroll down to learn more about a new 3-D mammogram machine available to patients]


The content on this page is adapted from
a story appearing in the UCH Insider, our
hospital's unusually candid e-newsletter.
Meant to provide our colleagues with the
inside skinny about working at an ambitious
hospital, the biweekly is also available to
people outside the facility.

Read past issues of the Insider. A button
for automatic subscription appears on
each cover page.

A large-scale study of digital imaging for mammograms supports the benefits of the new system. Results from the The Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, a study of nearly 50,000 women, showed that digital mammograms were 15 percent to 28 percent more effective than film mammograms at detecting breast cancer in young women, women with dense breasts, and in pre-menopausal women.

Improved imaging

Radiologists can adjust the brightness and contrast of digital images, which improves their ability to interpret the mammogram. This is a capability they did not have with film.

The digital equipment also offers a "computer-aided detection" (CAD) feature. A CAD mammogram includes marks that tell radiologists to check areas that the computer thinks could indicate cancer.

The Breast Center at UCH is also using CAD for breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which produces 3,000 to 3,500 images for each patient, which aids in MRI-guided breast biopsies.

Improved efficiency, more comfort

Digital imaging improves efficiency because it eliminates the time needed to process filmed images. Once taken, a digital image appears immediately on the computer screen, and the patient can quickly be repositioned if necessary. Patients no longer have to go to the waiting room while a technologist checks the suitability or clarity of a film image.

Radiation reduction

The new equipment includes tungsten x-ray tubes, which lessen considerably the radiation dose a patient receives. University of Colorado Hospital is the first in the state to use this new technology. (Tyler Smith, managing editor, UCH Insider)

3-D mammogram machine

3-D mammograms available to patients

At the end of May 2012, University of Colorado Hospital made its new 3-D mammogram machine available to patients.

The machine was purchased with proceeds from the UCH Foundation's Men for the Cure event.

Watch the CBS4 News video story.

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