Breast imaging centers are adopting the new 3D mammography technology as it has the ability to view the breast in slices, similar to CT scans. This allows areas that appear to have a mass to be viewed layer by layer to see if the suspicious area is just covering dense breast tissue. Users say it helps a lot in determining if a patient needs to be called back for additional imaging, a biopsy, or if the area of concern is simply overlapping tissue.
Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) has been the standard breast imaging modality for about two decades, but digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) systems are rapidly increasing in number with more than 1,000 new systems installed per year. According to statistics from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Mammography Quality Standards (MQSA) Act and Program, DBT now accounts for 46% of accredited mammography systems in the United States. Looking at the growth pattern of recent years, it is expected to overtake FFDM systems in the next couple of years.
Lewin said there could be more FFDM systems, but he thinks DBT is already the new care stand.
“In my experience, tomosynthesis is now the default breast imaging modality,” Lewin said. “I suspect there are still centers that only do full-field digital mammography, but I think they are rare.”
He said many centers have FFDM systems, but are using their newer DBT systems as front-line imaging systems. Lewin said he doesn’t see many centers in his area using FFDM anymore. In the largest university centers and breast centers with which he has worked in recent years or references, he receives daily DBT exams to revise.
“Even if it takes longer to read the tomosynthesis screenings, that’s becoming the standard of care. And I have to say there’s additional reimbursement if you do a mammogram and a tomosynthesis, and that certainly had a effect effect on adoption,” Lewin said.