Scripps Health recent became the first in the county to acquire 3-D digital breast tomosynthesis technology, a software that produces clearer images than the 2-D digital mammography that’s typically used. In California, only four other health care facilities currently offer this technology.
Scripps recently began using the FDA-approved software with patients at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and plans to expand it to more of its facilities.
Used with existing digital mammography equipment, the breast tomosynthesis software uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers. Tat creates a 3-D reconstruction of the breast. The 3-D model lets physicians examine breast tissue 1 millimeter at a time.
“When it comes to breast imaging, less tissue overlap translates into clearer images of the patient’s tissue, which allows for a more definitive diagnosis,” said Scripps Encinitas radiology chairman Dr. Kris Van Lom in a news release from the hospital. “Having a more reliable view of the breast tissue will help us be more effective in discovering early-stage breast cancers, while in some cases reducing the number of ‘false positives’ and the need for additional tests or biopsies.”
By June 2012, Scripps also plans to have tomosynthesis technology available for patients at Scripps Polster Breast Care Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
The new technology is the latest in Scripps’ effort to increase cancer treatments for its patients. Scripps is also in the process of building a radiation treatment center in La Jolla, which should be completed this August—and a proton therapy center in Mira Mesa, which should be completed in April 2013.