Imaging Center for Women (ICW) patients will soon have the option of receiving digital breast tomosynthesis mammograms, an imaging advance especially beneficial for women with dense breasts, said ICW Director Roni Talukdar, MD. He added that the center’s new breast tomosynthesis unit, tentatively scheduled to arrive in May, will be the first of its kind in the Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania region.
Dr. Talukdar is a board-certified, fellowship-trained diagnostic radiologist with Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF) who specializes in women’s imaging. The ICW is a partnership of RAF and Mary Washington Healthcare and is located on the Mary Washington Hospital campus.
Tomosynthesis is a new digital technology that has been shown to improve breast cancer detection rates and result in fewer patient callbacks for additional testing, noted the American College of Radiologists in a statement last fall. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has also announced that Medicare will begin covering tomosynthesis this year with certain stipulations. Citing research studies evaluating its effectiveness, Time magazine in December recognized tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, as one of “11 Remarkable Health Advances From 2014.”
Dr. Talukdar said the experience of getting a mammogram with tomosynthesis breast imaging is similar to receiving a regular digital mammogram from a patient’s point of view, but the tomosynthesis unit is capable of taking a sweep of images from multiple angles around the breast to produce a three-dimensional image.
“Tomosynthesis is especially useful for evaluating people with denser breasts, which represents about 30 to 40% of our patient population at the ICW,” Dr. Talukdar explained. “For this subset of patients, tomosynthesis will be very beneficial and we look forward to bringing it to Fredericksburg.”
He added that Aye Min, MD, the RAF radiologist who was previously director of ICW, has been instrumental in bringing breast tomosynthesis to local patients. RAF and Mary Washington Healthcare had been evaluating the technology for several years and waiting for lower radiation units to be available in the U.S. before moving ahead with it.
“We went through a thorough process in selecting the technology and system. We wanted to make sure that it benefits the patients and meets the goals of RAF,” Dr. Min said.