What is 3D Tomosynthesis ?
Tomosynthesis is a revolutionary technology that gives radiologists the ability to identify and characterize individual breast structures without the appearance of overlapping tissue. During a tomosynthesis scan, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles. These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a three dimensional reconstruction of the breast. Tomosynthesis combines the advantages of digital mammography with a 3D perspective.
Why consider 3D Tomosynthesis ?
Instead of viewing all tissue complexities superimposed as they are on a traditional 2D mammogram, the radiologist can now scroll through the layers of the breast in one-millimeter thick slices. Reviewing breast tissue slice by slice removes the confusion of superimposed tissue allowing the radiologist to view a mammogram in a way never before possible.
Clinical studies reviewed by the FDA showed radiologists reading digital mammography (2D) plus breast tomosynthesis (3D) as compared to 2D mammography alone demonstrated superior clinical performance in specificity, fewer recalls for overlapping normal tissue on screening mammograms, and improved sensitivity, the proportion of mammograms with cancer which were correctly diagnosed.
What happens during a tomosynthesis mammogram ?
The patient’s experience in having tomosynthesis performed is nearly identical to undergoing a standard 2D digital mammogram. The scan takes less than 10 seconds for each view of the breast. The process will feel no different than a traditional mammogram.
Is tomosynthesis safe?
We are performing both standard digital mammography and tomosynthesis at the same time. Adding tomosynthesis does involve a minimal amount of additional radiation, compared with a standard mammogram; however, no risk from an amount of radiation this small has ever been proven. The radiation dose for the combined 2D and 3D exam at SJRA is under the FDA regulated limit for mammography. The FDA thoroughly considered the radiation issue before approving tomosynthesis for use in screening and diagnostic exams and approved this new technology because the benefit of the additional information available to the radiologist outweighs potential risk.
Does Insurance pay for tomosynthesis?
Currently, tomosynthesis is not covered by all insurances. For patients requesting tomosynthesis, the standard 2D portion of the exam is covered by insurance. If your insurer does not cover the Tomosynthesis portion of the exam, you will be responsible for paying for that additional service. Tomosynthesis is presently available at our Voorhees Women’s Center, Cross Keys Women’s Center, West Deptford Women’s Center, and Greentree Women’s Center.