September 10, 2008


COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Digital mammography has been added to the comprehensive diagnostic services for early detection of breast cancer at the Maury Regional Women’s Center. The first mammogram using this technology was performed September 10. Selenia™ digital mammography from Hologic® incorporates revolutionary imaging technology that provides incredibly sharp images. 

“In a clinical trial, it was determined that digital mammography detected significantly more cancers than film mammography—up to 28 percent more—in women age 50 and younger, premenopausal women, perimenopausal women, and women with dense breasts,” said Dr. Blair Butler, a board certified radiologist on the medical staff.

From the patient’s point of view, a digital mammogram is like traditional film screen mammography. Both use x-ray to generate images of the breast. However, instead of using film to capture and record the image, a digital mammogram uses a special detector to capture and convert x-ray energy into a digital image. The resulting digital images are immediately available to the radiologist for diagnosis.

The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They can also adjust brightness and contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses, and other changes that may be signs of early cancer.

Digital mammography offers a number of other practical advantages and patient conveniences. Because there is no waiting for film to be developed, patients spend less time in the Women’s Center and the need for repeat exams due to under or over exposure is reduced. Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films.

“This is just the latest tool that we’ve added to the Women’s Center,” said Women’s Services Coordinator Dana Salters. “We also provide MRI of the breast and perform breast biopsy procedures. At Maury Regional, there are eight board-certified surgeons on the medical staff who perform breast procedures from biopsies to tumor removals. If cancer is diagnosed, our cancer center offers some of the latest treatment options like brachytherapy that delivers high dose radiation directly to the bed where the tumor is removed. From early diagnosis to treatment, we offer comprehensive breast services for women.”

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.  Statistics demonstrate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 97%. 

In recognition of breast cancer awareness month, the Maury Regional Women’s Center will be offering free gifts to women who have their mammogram performed during the month of October. Women will also be eligible to enter a drawing to win a free digital camera as part of the hospital’s celebration for acquiring digital mammography technology. Screening mammograms may be performed without a physician’s order. If you would like to schedule a mammogram, have questions about this important breast health procedure, or would like more information about the health services offered to women, please contact the Women’s Center at 931.540.4166.


© 2008 Maury Regional Medical Center