Mammogram: Putting The Control In Women’s Hands

Sixty-five percent of women 40 and older have regular mammograms. It's an anxious, uncomfortable moment for many.

But there’s a new way to go about it where the patient has more control during the procedure.

It's a little uncomfortable, but these three women wouldn’t miss their annual mammogram. Two of the three had breast cancer, and mammograms were how doctors caught the disease.

But the mammogram is getting a makeover. At least at Florida Hospital.

“This equipment enables us to take a tremendous leap forward,” Dr. David J. Rippe said.

The Florida Hospital doctor says the patients can now control the compression of the breast with a little clicker called the Duetta.

“It enables the patient to have a sense of control,” Rippe said.

Christine Parsell tested it out.

“The compression is a lot slower," she said. "It doesn’t feel like the equipment is kind of coming down hard on your breasts.”

Rippe says so far this has led to better images in most cases.

“We see significantly better compressions when a patient is made part of the process,” he said.

And better compressions can lead to better detection.

“This allows some of the tissue to be separated out so we see through the tissue better,” Rippe said.

Now, with this new technology, doctors are hoping more women put mammograms on their priority list.

Pristina Duetta is the full name of the new mammogram equipment. Rippe says it is covered by insurance.




REPORT: MB #4495

BACKGROUND: A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. Having a mammogram is uncomfortable for most women. Some women find it painful. A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon. What you feel depends on the skill of the technologist, the size of your breasts, and how much they need to be pressed.


NEW MAMMOGRAPHY SYSTEM: In late 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the first 2D digital mammography system that allows patients to increase or decrease the amount of compression applied to their own breast before the mammogram x-ray is taken. "Regular mammograms are an important tool in detecting breast cancer," said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "However, some patients may experience anxiety or stress about the discomfort from the compression during the mammogram. This device allows patients some control over the amount of compression for their exam."


NEW TECHNOLOGY: “This is a new age in breast imaging,” said Dr. Kathy Schilling, Medical Director of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Center and the radiologist who conducted a clinical review of the new tool. “Patients who used the remote control said the exam was more comfortable and they were visibly more relaxed. Any breast radiologist knows that when patients are relaxed, we are able to get better images and better images lead to a more confident diagnosis. My hope is that increasing comfort during the exam and giving patients the option of working with the technologist to set their own compression will increase compliance, enable early detection and improve outcomes.” Patient-assisted compression is the newest comfort feature available on Senographe Pristina, a totally redesigned mammography system that has replaced traditional design with rounded edges and a thinner image detector to create a more pleasant experience for women as well as armrests that position women to relax rather than tense up during the compression and image acquisition process.


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