St. John’s Medical Center Goes 3D For Mammograms


St. John’s Medical Center is pleased to provide 3-D mammograms for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. “The state-of-the-art 3D technology gives radiologists and physicians the best images available, which in turn gives patients peace of mind,” said St. John’s communications officer Karen Connelly.

“With 3-D mammography, we will be able to find invasive cancers earlier, when they are smaller and easier to treat,” said St. John’s radiologist Sean Haling, MD. “In addition, there are fewer false negatives. A negative 3-D result is much more reassuring, especially for women with denser breast tissue.”

The new mammography equipment, the Hologic Selenia® Dimensions® system, creates a 3-dimensional image of the breast, enabling radiologists to more clearly see through overlapping tissue to detect cancers. The 3-D technology, also called tomosynthesis, provides for earlier detection of breast cancers (up to a 40% increase in detecting invasive breast cancer, compared to 2-D mammography), clearer views of lesions, and a reduction in the number of additional views required.  The new system replaces the Hologic 2-D mammography equipment St. John’s had used for several years.

The new system works like this: an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing the radiologist to review the breast tissue one layer at a time. 3-D mammography is recommended for women of all ages and breast densities. St. John’s continues to use the MammoPad cushioning system to create a softer mammogram experience.

Integrated into this 3-D imaging technology is the upright Affirm stereotactic breast biopsy system, which easily targets lesions, including those visible only in tomosynthesis images; offers shorter and more comfortable patient procedures; and reduces the patient radiation dose, because fewer exposures are required.

The St. John’s Medical Center Auxiliary, the Teton Pines Women’s Golf Association, and individual donors to the St. John’s Hospital Foundation helped make the purchase of the new imaging system possible.  Even with the upgraded mammography service, St. John’s has not increased the fees it charges for a mammogram.  Free mammograms will continue to be available to women unable to afford one, through the Women’s Health Care Fund of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation and other programs. Contact the St. John’s Hospital Foundation at 739-7512 for more information.

St. John’s recommends that you talk to your physician about recommended breast health screenings. To schedule a mammogram, call 307 739 7531.

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