Frederick Health is the first healthcare provider in Frederick County to
offer digital mammography. "Digital mammography definitely has advantages
for the patient," said radiologist Dr. Greg Lavanier. "Many
women including young woman and those choosing hormone replacement therapy
have dense breasts. For them, screening with digital mammography provides
better visualization of the breast tissue, which translates into better
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 calcifications, masses and other changes that
may be signs of early cancer, which may alleviate the need for additional
imaging and more exposure to radiation.
"Women will notice little difference when going for a digital mammogram,"
said Dr. Lavanier. "The procedure is the same as traditional film
mammography, but less time consuming. Both use x-rays to generate images
of the breast. However, 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."
Digital mammography offers a number of other practical advantages and patient
conveniences. Because digital mammography is filmless, nothing has to
be developed - saving time. At Frederick Health Rose Hill and
Frederick Health Crestwood, Monday through Friday, a radiologist reviews the images while the patient
waits. This unique service allows for additional images, or procedures
such as a breast ultrasound, to be performed the same day, greatly reducing
the need for a return visit.
To supplement this technology, Frederick Health has incorporated digital
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD). Digital CAD highlights characteristics
commonly associated with breast cancer. When activated, it flags abnormalities
to help the radiologist detect early breast cancer. CAD is, in essence,
a second set of eyes to support and enhance the radiologist's judgment.
Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating
the dependency on one set of original films, which can be misfiled or
lost in transit. Of course, hard copies can always be produced if needed.