The Vernon Women’s 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 incorporates two digital mammography units, a breast biopsy room, breast ultrasound equipment, and bone density screening.
When Should I Get a Mammogram?
Schedule a Mammogram
Women who undergo routine mammograms at Vernon Place have the latest diagnostic technology available with state-of-the-art Selenia Dimensions™ digital mammography system from Hologic™. According to Dr. Frederic McDermott, board-certified radiologist and medical director of Radiology Services at MMC: “digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is acquired and, more importantly, viewed.”
This means that the radiologist can magnify 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 Vernon Women’s 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 is 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 valuable suggestions.
Breast Biopsy and 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 Vernon Women’s 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.
Digital Breast Tomosynthesis — 3D Mammography
MMC is proud to offer 3D Tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, for our patients at Vernon Place Women’s Center.
3D is more sensitive in detecting invasive cancers that traditional mammography may miss. It also reduces the chances for a screening patient having to come back for additional images. MMC Radiologists recommend that ALL patients have a 3D mammogram to improve the accuracy of the exam and to reduce the chance of being called back for additional screening.
A good analogy for the 3D exam is like thinking of the pages in a book. If you look down at the cover you cannot see all of the pages – but when you open it up you can go through the entire book page by page to see everything between the covers.
The process of a 3D exam is the same as a 2D exam. the technologist will position you; compress your breast and the machine takes images from different angles. There are no additional compressions required with 3D mammograms.
There is a list of insurances that cover 3D mammography in PA at the reception desk for you to view. You may also choose to call your insurance company to see if they cover 3D mammography. They may ask for CPT (billing) codes: 77067 + 77063 Screening Breast Tomosynthesis. If it is not covered by your insurance, you will be responsible for the balance.
A state-of-the-art standard digital mammogram will be performed.
Radiation dosage of the 3D mammogram is comparable to that of the 2D mammogram.