ALBERT LEA, Minn. - Using X-rays, a 3D mammogram creates a 3D image of the breast. Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea received a new breast tomosynthesis machine in November and began using it on patients this weekend.
The machine has multiple benefits over standard screening tests alone, including decreasing the chance of patients needing to return for additional testing, being able to find more cancers, and using it to look for cancer in people who have no signs or symptoms.
"It allows us to catch more cancers because cancers show up as white on the mammogram just like normal breast tissue, so allowing us to separate out those tissues can help us find cancers a little bit easier," explains radiologist Brandon Stott, M.D.
The Albert Lea clinic already has one of these machines, but only one machine means they couldn't use it on everyone. Staff mostly only used it on diagnostic patients, not screening patients. Now, that will change. "Now that we have both machines up and running, our volumes can increase, we can see more patients, we can offer our screening patients the 3-D mammogram which will help us not only identify more cancers, but also reduce our callback rates," says Dr. Stott.
The Austin campus has limited availability for a 3D mammogram, but is expecting new technology in 2019.