- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Campbell County Memorial Hospital will soon be offering a cutting-edge breast imaging technology only recently approved for hospitals.

The Gillette News Record reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/1zzFy9Z) that the technology is called tomosynthesis, and it aims to catch instances of breast cancer earlier and more effectively.

The technology is among several services included in the hospital’s ongoing $10.9 million radiology expansion. That project will open to the public early next year and includes suites dedicated exclusively to mammography, along with ultrasound and bone density scans.

Tomosynthesis will be available to patients once it has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s available now in about 1,100 of the nation’s 13,500 mammography units, according to Hologic, a developer and manufacturer of medical imaging systems.

Campbell County Memorial Hospital bought digital mammographic equipment from Siemens Healthcare, an international medical equipment developer and supplier.

“Siemens, as a company, has been using their tomosynthesis project for years overseas, but the FDA process here is much slower,” said Tia Knapp, hospital technologist and clinical supervisor. “There’s only one vendor that has ‘tomo’ that is FDA approved right now. The other vendors are at the FDA-approval process currently.”

Hologic’s tomosynthesis equipment was approved for use in the United States in 2011. Siemens technology has been used in Europe, Asia and South America since 2009, and the company announced in June that it had submitted its premarket approval application to the FDA.

Tomosynthesis is a sort of hybrid of mammography and computerized tomography, or CT, scans, Knapp said.

Whereas standard two-dimensional mammography produces one flattened image of the examined breast, tomosynthesis - sometimes called 3-D mammography - captures images from many different angles in order to minimize the influence of any overlapping tissue during the imaging process.

Once the scan is done, the multiple-angle images are combined to create a 3-D depiction of the entire breast to be used for the screening and diagnosis of breast cancer.

“It’s much more detailed (than conventional mammography), and you can look at things in cross-sections,” Knapp said. “It’s recommended more for patients with dense breast tissue. It’s a good problem-solving tool for that type of patient.”

Once the FDA approves Siemens tomosynthesis technology, the company will send trainers out to Campbell County to work with those who will use the equipment.

“You want to know if you have a mammogram in Gillette, that you’ll have a similar quality to Florida or wherever so that people aren’t falling through the cracks and going to a facility that doesn’t have the same high standards,” Knapp said.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 24, but the department likely won’t open until late February or early March, said Terri Kinney, manager of the hospital’s radiology department.

___

Story Continues →