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What is a Mammography Machine?

A mammography machine uses X-Ray beams to examine the breast for cancer and other diseases. The X-Ray film used is high-contrast and high-resolution, and is specifically designed for imaging the breasts. A mammogram is useful in that it can show changes in the breasts long before a physician or the woman herself can feel them. The two types of mammography exams are screening and diagnostic.

Screening mammography is used for women who have no symptoms of breast cancer, and greatly improves a woman’s chances of successful treatment if breast cancer is detected.

Diagnostic mammography is used when a woman has a breast complaint such as a lump or nipple discharge or her screening mammogram finds an abnormality. It takes longer and is more time-consuming because diagnostic mammography is able to analyze the exact size and location of breast abnormalities, and it is also more expensive than screening.

The actual screening involves imaging each breast separately. The breast is compressed with a paddle in order to flatten it and gain the largest amount of tissue to be examined. The X-Rays used in mammography used highly sensitive film in order to keep radiation at minimum while still creating the highest quality images.

No two mammograms are alike, and therefore radiologists need to have the films of previous mammograms available for comparison, in case there are changes in the state of the breasts.

It is recommended that women over 40 should receive a screening mammogram every one to two years, but in some cases a physician may recommend beginning sooner if the patient has a long family history of breast cancer.

The mammography machine itself comes in analog and digital options. When it comes to mammography machine purchasing, weighing the pros and cons of digital and analog are vitally important to your facility and your patients.

Analog uses film to produce images, whereas digital does not. Also, whereas analog images are far inferior to digital, they are much less costly to purchase and maintain.

Digital machines are able to detect cancer cells earlier than analog, and the images can be electronically transferred for diagnosis; however, with analog systems it’s much easier to find a company that will provide a service contract.

Contact us here today to speak with a mammography expert about our many options.

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