Pixel Tracker

Monday, November 19 , 2018, 5:24 pm | Fair 63º


3D Mammogram Machine Providing Clearer Cancer-Screening Results

Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center is one of few in the country deploying cutting-edge system in fight against breast cancer

A state-of-the-art mammogram machine that provides drastically clearer, more detailed results is available to patients at Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center, where staff are already finding small breast cancers that previously escaped detection.

The practice headed up by Dr. Judy Dean is one of the first in the country to boast the Selenia Dimensions digital tomosynthesis/3D mammography system and its accompanying “C-View” feature, which allows doctors to provide 3D mammography at a radiation dose that is the same as the dose for a standard 2D digital mammogram.

The machine — created by Hologic — is similar to the 2D system except that the X-ray tube that collects images is moving during a mammogram, collecting multiple snapshots from different angles.

Dean told Noozhawk the result is a stack of thin “slice” images, spaced 1 millimeter apart and reviewed along with standard 2D projections.

“Instead of only four pictures, you get hundreds,” she said. “It makes a huge difference. We are already seeing small cancers with this that we cannot see with 2D.” 

The imaging center, formerly Dean's practice, regularly receives the latest technology before other practices because of its breast-imaging specialty.

Dean said the center has been using the new machine since December, which is when her practice merged with Pueblo Radiology. The latest feature arrived last week.

With the Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center's new 3D mammography system, improved imaging enables the detection of a small cancer on a patient's breast, indicated by the small, white circle in the left image. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
With the Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center's new 3D mammography system, improved imaging enables the detection of a small cancer on a patient's breast, indicated by the small, white circle in the left image. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

On an afternoon last week, Dean examined the results of several mammograms and noted a small, clearly defined cancer that would not have been visible using 2D technology alone.

She likened the new technology to a CT-scan, and said the moving camera will be the only noticeable difference for patients undergoing the testing procedure.

So far, Dean said the 3D mammography system has reduced the number of false positive cancer diagnoses and increased detection 20 percent to 40 percent, with a recall rate reduced by 50 percent.

Local detection improvements are along national lines, where many sites using Selenia Dimensions breast tomosynthesis reported a 20 percent to 40 percent reduction in recall rates, 27 percent improvement in cancer detection rates and 40 percent increase in invasive cancer detection, according to the manufacturer’s website.

Dean pointed out that the new technology benefits women of all ages and all tissue densities, although those with denser breast tissue especially benefit.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.