Women's Diagnostic Center
Digital Mammography at One Vernon Place
The Women's Diagnostic Center at One Vernon Place offers cutting-edge
digital mammography and associated technologies. This advanced screening
tool aids in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. The Center,
located at our Vernon Place facility, incorporates two digital mammography
units, a breast biopsy room, breast ultrasound equipment, and bone density
Women who undergo routine mammograms at Vernon Place have the latest diagnostic
technology available. MMC's Women's Diagnostic Center features
the state-of-the-art Selenia Dimensions™ digital mammography system
Dr. Frederic McDermott, board-certified radiologist and medical director
of Radiology Services at MMC:
“We are very excited to offer the newest technology for breast cancer
detection. Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography
in how the image of the breast is acquired and, more importantly, viewed.”
The radiologist can magnify the images, increase or decrease the contrast
and perform numerous image manipulations on a dedicated computer workstation.
These features allow the radiologist to better evaluate microcalcifications
and areas of concern. In addition, women having mammograms at the Women's
Diagnostic Center benefit from computer-aided detection (CAD) technology.
CAD works like a second pair of eyes and improves the process of mammography
screening by calling a radiologist's attention to subtle changes in
tissue that may indicate the presence of cancer.
Terry Beck, manager of the Radiology Services at MMC, commented:
“Digital mammography offers a number of practical advantages and
patient conveniences, such as not waiting for film to be developed because
digital images are immediately available. The technologist can evaluate
the quality of the images as they're taken. Patients spend less time
in the exam room and rarely need to return for repeat images. The digital
machine is fast, so patients spend less time in uncomfortable positions.
Digital images are also easily stored and retrieved.
We are pleased to note that Meadville Medical Center was permanently certified
as a "Breast Imaging Center of Excellence" by the American College
of Radiology's (ACR) Commission on Quality and Safety, and the Commission
on Breast Imaging. It is one of a select group of hospitals to meet the
rigid standards of this certification. In order to receive this designation,
a center must be fully accredited in mammography, stereotactic breast
biopsy and breast ultrasound by the ACR, including the ultrasound-guided
breast biopsy module.”
ACR-Certified Breast Imaging Center of Excellence
The design for the new Breast Imaging Center was determined in part from
focus groups that were held with members of the community who offered
Denise Johnson, MD, chief medical officer of MMC, said:
“Participants in our focus groups wanted the latest technology in
a center that was comfortable and convenient. Women were particularly
interested in having results shared with them as soon as possible. In
keeping with their wishes, a radiologist will be on site and immediate
biopsies will be offered when appropriate. Privacy was also a priority,
and that recommendation prompted the development of a distinct center
apart from the general radiology area.
The commitment of the Women's Diagnostic Center is to maximize the
expertise and rapidity with which mammograms are interpreted. We believe
that we should do everything we can to alleviate or minimize anxiety a
women feels until she receives the results of her mammogram.”
Breast Biopsy & Breast Ultrasound
The breast imaging center also offers stereotactic breast biopsy and breast
ultrasound. Dr. McDermott noted:
“Stereotactic breast biopsy is a safe and minimally invasive way
to perform a breast biopsy. Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm
that a breast abnormality is benign or not. It should be emphasized that
stereotactic breast biopsy is an alternative to open or surgical biopsy
for some patients. A sample of suspect breast tissue is precisely located
with a computer-guided imaging system and removed with a needle. Samples
are then sent for examination by a pathologist. The procedure is completed
on an outpatient basis with a minimum of discomfort, recovery time, and
much less scarring.”
In addition to digital mammography and stereotactic breast biopsy, the
center offers breast ultrasound that under certain circumstances can substantially
aid in diagnosis. Breast ultrasound can also be used to guide the placement
of a needle or tube in order to drain an infection, take a sample of breast
tissue, or guide breast surgery. A small handheld unit called a transducer
is gently passed back and forth over the breast without the use of X-rays
or other types of radiation.
Breast MRI, MRI-Guided Breast Biopsies & DEXA Scans
MMC also offers breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI-guided
breast biopsies. This sophisticated technology uses magnetic fields and
radio waves to image the soft tissues of the body without discomfort to
the patient. Both breasts are imaged simultaneously without need for compression.
High Definition Breast MRI provides doctors with unprecedented imaging
clarity for a more accurate diagnosis. Breast biopsies guided in real-time
by magnetic resonance imaging is the latest development and an important
advance in diagnosing breast cancer. MMC is one of the few facilities
outside Pittsburgh that performs this procedure in northwest Pennsylvania.
The Women's Diagnostic Center also houses dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
(DEXA) scan equipment, which is the most exact way to measure bone density
to predict the possibility of osteoporosis.
When Should I Get a Mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms for women starting
at age 40 for patients without a family history of cancer and with no
Meadville Medical Center's Radiology Department performed approximately
8,000 mammograms in 2009. MMC board-certified radiologists combine their
training, expertise and experience to read and interpret mammograms. In
addition, MMC's mammography technologists are specially trained and
certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Contact the Women’s Diagnostic Center
Contact the Women's Diagnostic Center at One Vernon Place by dialing
(814) 333-5140. Mammogram referrals are necessary from your primary care
physician. To find out what procedures are covered by your insurance,
please contact your healthcare provider.