Lexington Medical Center Expands Access to Advanced Mammography Technology

Wake Forest Baptist Health – Lexington Medical Center’s Outpatient Imaging Center has expanded access to 3-D Mammography by recently purchasing a new GE Pristina mammography machine.

“This revolutionary technology reveals greater detail, which may help us detect cancer sooner,” said Thomas Santoro, MD, radiologist and breast imaging specialist at Wake Forest Baptist. “Health care consumers in the Davidson County area have asked for this technology, and we believe it’s an important addition to Lexington Medical Center so that women and men across the region have close-to-home access to this type of imaging.”

In 2017, the Lexington Medical Center Hospital Foundation hosted their annual Sportsmen’s Saturday fundraising event with all of the proceeds going toward this new technology. Together, private donors and the Hospital Foundation paid for nearly half of the cost for this new technology.

Lexington Medical Center has been offering mammography technology for more than 30 years. In 2010, the hospital invested in digital mammography and performs approximately 5,000 scans per year.

The addition of 3-D mammography creates multiple images or “slices” that see through the breast tissue, allowing the radiologist to see more clearly and helping reduce the impact of overlapping breast tissue.

The process is performed at the same time as a traditional mammogram, on the same scanner and with no noticeable difference in the experience or time needed for the patient. 

“3-D mammography gives us the ability to see masses, particularly in dense breast tissue, that we might have difficulty detecting with traditional mammography,” said Santoro. “Because it reduces the overlap of tissue, most investigators have found that it leads to fewer callbacks and therefore less anxiety for women.”

The procedure was approved by the FDA in February 2011 and is a modification of the current 2-D (digital) mammography. The exam is performed on state-of-the-art digital equipment, which is able to obtain multiple low-dose images of a compressed breast from different angles. These images es are then viewed individually and dynamically. Radiologists are able to view breast tissue layer by layer, one millimeter at a time, similar to a CT scan.

“Everyone benefits from 3-D mammography; however, there is increased benefit to women with dense breast tissue because dense breast tissue may look similar to cancer tissue. 2-D mammography can’t always differentiate between cancer and dense breast tissue,” said Paul Hiatt, MD, radiologist with Wake Forest Baptist. “For example, if a 2-D mammogram detects an area of concern, the radiologists may want to further investigate with a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy. Looking at the same breast tissue in 3-D, the radiologist may now see that the tissue is in fact normal breast tissue. In this scenario, the patient likely avoided a callback for an additional mammogram.”

Lexington Medical Center’s breast imaging team consists of mammography-certified technologists and board-certified physicians.

Patients can call 336-238-4251 to schedule a mammogram appointment.