The most advanced breast-screening technology is now available at UCLA
Health’s medical campuses in Santa Monica and Westwood.
Both the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center located near
UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica and the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging
at UCLA’s Westwood campus are using tomosynthesis technology to produce
The technology uses high-powered computing
to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices,”
which become a 3-D mammogram.
While digital mammography is still one of
the most advanced technologies available today, it only provides a
two-dimensional picture of the breast.
Recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration,
tomosynthesis has been shown in clinical studies to be superior to digital
mammography as its three-dimensional view allows doctors to see subtle
differences in breast tissue by examining one layer at a time.
This cutting-edge technology increases the number of cancers
detected and lessens the need for women to be called back for additional
testing after their initial screening exam.
A study published in the journal Radiology found that
three-dimensional mammography combined with conventional breast imaging can
increase breast cancer detection by 27 percent. The study also showed a
40-percent increase in invasive breast cancer detection when tomosynthesis was
used in conjunction with traditional imaging, as well as a 15-percent decrease
in false positives.
“We are excited to have tomosynthesis for our patients
because this technology allows us to distinguish subtle changes in the breast,
which, in turn, can lead to improved breast cancer detection,” said Dr. Anne
Hoyt, director of the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center and medical director
of breast imaging for UCLA.
Tomosynthesis is the preferred imaging method for patients
considered at high risk, due to a family history or other risk
factors. The procedure is similar to a traditional mammogram, with
the technologist compressing the breast to take images from two different
angles. With the breast in position, the X-ray arm of the machine makes a
quick arc over the breast, taking a series of very low-dose images at several
The total amount of X-ray exposure from tomosynthesis is
below guidelines set by the American College of Radiology.
procedure takes about the same amount of time as a traditional mammogram,” Dr.
For more information about tomosynthesis, or to schedule an
appointment at UCLA Health’s imaging centers, call 310.301.6800.
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