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Study Compares Digital and Screen-Film Mammography

Findings suggest radiation exposure 22 percent lower in digital mammography

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Breast screening with full-field digital mammography (FFDM) exposes women to a lesser glandular radiation dose per view compared to screen-film mammography, according to a study in the February American Journal of Roentgenology.

R. Edward Hendrick, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues compared data on FFDM and screen-film mammography in the screening exams of 4,366 women. The authors evaluated breast compression force, compressed breast thickness, mean glandular radiation dose, and the number of additional views required for full breast coverage.

The researchers found that mean compression force and compressed breast thickness differed little for mammography modalities, while mean glandular dose per view was 22 percent lower for FFDM compared to screen-film mammography, although there were sizable variations in average FFDM dose by manufacturer. However, more than the normal four views were required in 21 percent of FFDM screenings compared to 12 percent of screen-film mammographies. With extra views included in the analysis, the mean glandular dose per subject was 17 percent lower for FFDM than screen-film mammography.

"Breast dose along with image quality and other performance parameters should be carefully compared between existing screen-film mammography and any new FFDM system being considered for integration into a breast imaging practice. The results of ACRIN DMIST (American College of Radiology Imaging Network Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial) suggest, however, that new FFDM systems should be capable of achieving equal or improved cancer detection at equal or lower breast doses than screen-film mammography," the authors conclude.

Several study authors reported being consultants for GE Healthcare, two of whom have consulted on breast imaging products not related to this study.

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