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Digital Mammography

Crawford County Memorial Hospital utilizes a state-of-the-art digital mammography system. The system is among the most advanced screening tools available to identify cancers of the breast area early when they are most treatable. Furthermore, the digital system at CCMH uses a tungsten x-ray tube. This material has been proven to reduce the amount of radiation needed to get diagnostic images.

How to schedule a digital mammogram

Digital mammograms at CCMH can be scheduled without a physician’s order. However, you will need to provide a physician’s name to send the test results to. To schedule your mammogram, call 265-2651.

How to prepare for a digital mammogram

You should avoid utilizing underarm deodorant when you arrive for your appointment. Some deodorants contain a material which can leave tiny deposits on the skin. These deposits can sometimes be mistaken for microcalcifications on the exam.

You should also be prepared to answer three questions prior to the exam:

  1. Do you have a family history of breast cancer?
  2. Have you had any surgery to your breasts?
  3. Are you on hormones or birth control?

Difference between digital and conventional mammograms

When comparing digital systems to conventional film-based systems, there are not many differences that can be seen with the naked eye. Both have essentially the same physical look – both use x-ray radiation to produce the image of the breast, and both rely on compression plates to isolate the tissue.

The biggest difference is that digital systems allow technicians to have access to nearly instantaneous images on their computer screen during the procedure rather than having to wait for the film to be processed. Once the image is on the computer, it can be enhanced or magnified for further evaluation. This capability helps reduce the patient’s waiting time because technicians know right away if they’ve achieved the image they were targeting.

Use of digital mammography systems was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in January 2000. Several years later, results from a comprehensive clinical trial suggested there was virtually no difference between digital and film mammograms in detecting breast cancer among the general population of women in the trial. However, the study indicated that women with dense breasts, women who were pre- or perimenopausal, or women who were younger than age 50 could benefit from having a digital rather than film mammogram. The study noted that the electronic manipulation of the digital image allows the subtle differences between normal and abnormal tissue to be more easily noted in those special populations.