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Digital breast tomography, also called 3-D mammography, will rapidly evolve as the new standard for screening and diagnostic mammography for all women, except for those whose breasts have involuted to almost entirely fatty tissue. Its greatest advantage over conventional digital mammography is in those women with dense, glandular breast tissue. Although mammography equipment looks substantially different from the other common medical use of computerized tomography, the CT scan, the fundamentals are very similar. Both use computer programs that analyze multiple images of the body or body part, taken at regular angular intervals to reconstruct thin cross-sectional slices, providing much finer anatomic detail.
Just as a CT scan of the chest can detect subtle abnormalities of the lungs not readily seen on a conventional chest X-ray, DBT’s thin sectional images of the breast tissue eliminate superimposed dense breast tissue that might otherwise hide a small breast tumor. The recent advances in both mammography and computer equipment used for DBT breast imaging have resulted in better images with decreasing X-ray dosage to the breast that is now well within acceptable limits for medical imaging. Regular mammography screening is essential for the earliest possible detection. Ask your doctor about digital breast tomography for your next mammogram. It could be a life-saver.