Breast screening needn’t be an intimidating experience!
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital offers state-of-the-art digital mammography in the Richards Building for outpatient care. BMH is now able to offer patients who undergo routine mammograms the latest diagnostic technology available to them with the addition of two new Selenia™ digital mammography instruments from Hologic®. Appointments are now being scheduled for these new machines, often within a day or two. Once a patient has an appointment, which must be ordered by the physician, there is no need to go through Patient Registration, as the patients are now pre-registered, meaning they can report directly to the mammography unit at the time of their appointment.
Digital mammography provides the highest quality of care in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. It is known to be particularly helpful in women with dense breasts. It allows the radiologist to view the x-ray image more closely zeroing in on suspicious or concerning areas. This enables them to make immediate decisions about additional images. Digital mammography takes less than half the time of traditional film-based exams. From the patient’s point of view, a digital mammogram is like traditional film screen mammography. Both use x-ray to generate images of the breast.
The difference is, instead of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses a special detector to capture and convert x-ray energy into a digital image. The resulting digital images are immediately available to the radiologist for diagnosis. The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They can also adjust brightness and contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcification’s, masses, and other changes that may be signs of early cancer.
Digital mammography offers a number of other practical advantages and patient conveniences. Because there is no waiting for film to be developed it can significantly reduce the exam time for patients, as well as reduce the need for repeat exams due to under or over exposure. Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films, which could get lost in transit.
The BMH Mammography Department uses the “Softer Mammogram”, a mammo pad which provides a soft, warm cushion between you and the mammography machine.
In conjunction with the digital mammography unit, BMH is also offering Computer-Aided Detection. CAD provides a “second read” of the mammogram by a computer. This assists the radiologist in making an accurate diagnosis, like spell check in word processing. Our goal is to provide the best possible care for our patients.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics demonstrate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97%.
Although patients are able to access the Richards Building from the main hospital, the easiest access to the Richards Building 2nd floor is by elevator from the ground floor. The elevators are accessed by either the glass front entrance from the main hospital parking lot, or by driving around to the back side of the hospital and entering under the convenient covered entrance. Ample parking areas are available to patients near this access.
For an appointment, call 802-251-8431.
On the day of your exam, please do not use deodorant of powder. Tiny flecks of these substances may appear on the mammography film and interfere with the interpretation.
If you have breast implants, be sure to notify the Radiology Department prior to your appointment. We allow a longer appointment time for imaging breast implants.
Importance of compression:
Compression is the key to good mammography. The following explains the value of compression:
- Reduces radiation dosage
- Provides several technical improvements in image quality
- Immobilization of the breast reduces blurring caused by motion
- Localization of structures in the breast are brought closer to the image receptor, which reduces geometric blurring
- The breast tissue is more uniform, which results in more even penetration and less difference in radiographic density
- Reduction of the breast thickness, which reduces the ratio of scatter to primary radiation, thereby better subject contrast
- The spreading of breast tissue enables suspicious areas to be more easily identified.
We regret any discomfort you may have experienced from compression during your mammogram. Do not be alarmed if, as a result of compression, there is some temporary skin discoloration involving one or both breasts. Occasionally there will be a mild aching as a result of compression. If the aching persists, you may contact your physician.
Compression allows clearer pictures of you breasts. It is important for you to understand that: 1) Compression is not dangerous – it does not damage breast tissue and 2) it produces no long-term discomfort. With compression we obtain the best possible view of your breast with the least amount of radiation.