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What about tomosynthesis ("3D mammography")?


Tomosynthesis uses similar technology to conventional mammography and many centers are currently in the process of adopting it because it has shown promising early results. Recent data suggest that, in general, tomosynthesis reduces false positive findings and may also permit detection of additional cancers in the screening population (similar to ultrasound but not as much as MRI). Some women in California who have tomosynthesis will receive patient letters stating that they have dense breasts. For these women, the primary physician may decide to inform them that they have already had a test as effective as some types of supplemental screening. However, we do not yet know how well tomosynthesis performs, specifically, in the small group of women with extremely dense breasts because results thus far have been reported only for all studied women.

The radiation dose of the combined digital mammography plus tomosynthesis examination is approximately double that of standard digital mammography alone, but this dose is still within FDA limits. Dose reduction strategies are being actively developed, in particular, the use of synthesized digital mammographic images created from tomosynthesis data has received recent FDA approval, which would result in substantial dose reduction if the digital mammography examination could be omitted. Thus, the dose-related risk implications for women are considered acceptable.