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Digital Mammography Systems: Much More Than the Sum of Their Parts

More and more medical facilities are realizing than rather than buying new mammography units, it is more economical to replace worn-out or broken mammography parts.

The newer mammography units are digital, providing the best imaging technology available for breast cancer screening. A digital mammogram unit, comprised of complex mammography parts, uses compression and x-rays to image the breast, but instead of capturing the image on film as with traditional mammography, the image is captured to a computer as a digital image file. Also called a full-field digital mammogram (FFDM), this technology compares well with film mammography and will benefit younger women the most, as it has been shown the older film method is more effective with women over the ages of 65. This technology allows the mammogram to be enlarged or magnified to provide the best quality picture and facilitates images being electronically filed and stored in a computer mammography part, where they can be accessed in seconds. The benefit of breast screening is early detection of breast cancer. The digital breast screening picks up very small, early stage breast cancer. The use of digital mammography improvs the ability to deliver better treatment options, better outcomes and more integrated breast health care for women. Cancer touches the lives of so many individuals and families and new technologies will further enhance the technologies and therapies medical facilities currently have in place for cancer diagnosis and care.

Digital mammograms are faster than film mammograms, because there is no film to develop. The image can be sent immediately to the radiologist for viewing. If the image is unclear, it can be retaken. This may help reduce mammogram callbacks and stress on patients.

Once mammographic images are sent to the computer mammography part, the radiologist can view them on a monitor, much as one would look at digital photos. On this special computer mammography part, the physician can closely examine the images by zooming in, adjusting the image brightness, or changing the contrast, making all areas of the breast easier to see. If the doctor wants to consult a breast specialist about the mammogram, the digital image files can be electronically sent to other sites for examination (telemammography). Computer-aided detection and diagnosis (CAD) can be used on the digital images to help the radiologist analyze the overall images, and flag areas that need closer study. CAD can find tumors that a radiologist might not spot. Once a CAD analysis has been done, a radiologist will do a visual check of those areas, and based on training and experience, decide how serious the mass may actually be.

Currently, stereo digital mammograms are being done in clinical trials for women who were called back after an abnormal routine mammogram. A stereo digital mammogram combines two digital breast x-rays taken from different angles, and produces a detailed three-dimensional image of the breast's internal structure. Such stereo images must be viewed on a special workstation mammography part by a specially trained radiologist.

Film mammography is still widely available, and digital mammography systems cost about 1.5 to 4 times more than film systems. Several different companies make digital mammography systems that have been given FDA approval.

MedWOW, the global medical equipment platform, represents a large selection, nearly 5,200, mammography parts from many major manufacturers including: Bennett X-Ray, Continental Trex, Elscint, GE Healthcare, Hologic, Instrumentarium, Lorad, Philips, Siemens and more.

For medical facilities who have film-based or digital systems, MedWOW offers mammography parts manufactured from 1998 – 2011, from dealers all over the world. If you don’t find the specific mammography part you seek, you can post a mammography part request on MedWOW and it is likely you will receive several competitive mammography part quotes.

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