UCLA Health's Santa Monica Campus Now Offers Advanced Breast-Screening Technology

Friday, 10 May 2013, 9:04:00 AM

Mirror Staff

Dr. Anne Hoyt views a mammogram at the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center near UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.
Photo by William Rogers
Dr. Anne Hoyt views a mammogram at the Barbara Kort Women’s Imaging Center near UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

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

three-dimensional mammograms. 

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.

“The entire

procedure takes about the same amount of time as a traditional mammogram,” Dr.

Hoyt said.  

For more information about tomosynthesis, or to schedule an

appointment at UCLA Health’s imaging centers, call 310.301.6800.

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