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Frequently Asked Questions:

Digital Mammography with
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD)

Mammogram, Mammography, breast cancer screening, open MRI

What is the Suite for Women's Imaging?  

The Suite for Women's Imaging at Norwalk Radiology & Mammography Center is a unique concept of centralizing women's imaging services into one area that has been designed with women's comfort, privacy, and convenience in mind. The suite offers digital mammography with computer-aided detection, bone density testing (DEXA) for bone health assessment and osteoporosis screening, and women's ultrasound. Designed for women, the suite provides access to the most advanced services available in women's imaging within a
spa-like environment.

What is digital mammography?  

Digital mammography is similar to standard mammography in that x-rays are used to produce detailed images of the breast. The difference is that digital mammography is equipped with a digital receptor and generates computerized images immediately instead of a film cassette that needs to be developed into a film. A similar comparison is a standard camera to a digital camera. We are the first and only site in Connecticut to offer digital mammography with computer-aided detection (CAD).

What is large field of view digital mammography?  

Norwalk Radiology & Mammography Center wants to make getting a mammogram as comfortable as possible. Our GE Senographe® Essential full-field digital mammography system is our latest addition to the Suite for Women’s Imaging.

The Senographe® Essential is the largest field of view digital mammography system available on today’s market. Similar to traditional digital mammography systems the large field of view is equipped with a larger paddle providing a more comfortable mammogram since women come in all shapes and sizes. The larger paddle allows for more precise imaging, especially for women with large breast. The larger paddle results in fewer compressions, less radiation, less pain and fewer call backs or retakes.

What is computer-aided detection or CAD?  

Computer aided detection or CAD is a sophisticated computer program that is linked to the digital mammography system and that has been shown in studies to increase the accuracy of mammography by up to 20%. After the radiologist has processed the digital breast images on the monitor and done the interpretation, CAD is activated. The system scans the images and alerts the radiologist to take a second look by flagging any potentially suspicious areas. The radiologist then reviews these areas again to determine if they need further study. CAD is like having a second set of trained eyes reviewing every mammogram. By detecting early or subtle changes, CAD can allow for earlier intervention and greater chances for cure.

What is the difference between traditional (analog) and
digital mammography?  

Analog mammography uses x-ray to record images on film using an x-ray cassette. Films are then "developed" and produced and put on a light box and read by the Radiologist. With Digital mammography the x-rays produce a digital image on a screen while the patient is still in position. The technologist has the ability to review these in "real time" to determine image quality. Once completed the images are sent to the radiologist electronically at a reading station where they can manipulate, view and magnify areas of breast tissue. This enhances the information available for reading and interpretation. From the patient's perspective there is little difference because the exam is conducted in a similar way except that the exam is shorter in length. Compression of the breast is required for both digital and analog mammography.

Is digital a better technology?  

While analog mammography is still a sound and reliable exam, digital mammography offers a new ability to process and view the images. This results in shorter exam time for the patient, and greater flexibility for the radiologist in interpreting the images. Much like a digital photo, the images can be enhanced, manipulated, and improved by the radiologist, so a digital mammogram can provide more information for diagnosis. Digital technology also offers better visibility of the entire breast. The capabilities of digital mammography result in fewer repeat views, which means less patient exposure.

What if I have dense breasts?  

If you have dense breast tissue it is likely that digital mammography will provide better imaging quality for you with reduced radiation dose. This will be reviewed based upon your history and previous mammograms.

(The image to the right illustrates the advantages of digital mammography for dense breasts.)

When will I learn the results of my digital mammogram?  

Once your exam is complete, a radiologist will carefully evaluate the images and meticulously compare your current mammogram with prior exams in looking for any slight change. If your mammogram is normal you will be contacted directly by mail with your normal results, and your physician will receive a written report. Should you need any additional imaging to clarify a finding on your mammogram, we will call you within 3 business days of your mammogram to schedule a follow-up appointment. At the follow-up appointment, the radiologist will ensure that all necessary studies are performed to develop a conclusion, and we will discuss the findings with you before you leave. The results will also be given to you in writing, and your physician will receive a written report.

What is the difference between digital mammography and what I had
in the past?  

Will you be able to compare past analog mammograms to digital mammograms? Your analog mammogram produced only an analog hard copy film that was read by a radiologist. With a digital mammogram, your image can be read and stored electronically in digital format, and may also converted from a digital image to film for reading and storage. In either case, the images can be compared from exam to exam and from digital to analog.

Norwalk Radiology & Mammography Center
148 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851 • TEL: 203.838.4886
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