Digital mammography now at TRMC

Published 8:30 pm Friday, July 16, 2010

Digital mammogram services are now available at Troy Regional Medical Center.

The digital mammogram machine was introduced to the community this week and already women are taking advantage of this technological advancement in women’s health care, said Michelle Fannin, radiology department manager.

“Women from our area no longer have to travel for the latest technology in mammography,” Fannin said.

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“With a digital mammography machine here at Troy Regional Medical Center, we are up to date with hospitals in Dothan, Montgomery and Birmingham. There is no reason to have to go anywhere else for this service.”

Troy Regional Medical Center can accept work orders from physicians in other areas.

Those who have doctors in other towns can request that their mammograms to be done at TRMC and the results made available to their physicians.

Fannin said the digital mammography machine uses compression and x-rays to image the breast but instead of capturing the image on film as with traditional mammography, the image is captured to a computer as a digital file.

“Digital mammography provides a much clearer picture and is faster than film mammograms because there is no film to develop and the image can be sent immediately to the radiologist for viewing,” Fannin said.

Once the mammogram images are in the computer, the radiologist can view them on a monitor, much as one would look at digital photos.

On the computer, the radiologist can closely examine the images by zooming in, adjusting the image brightness, or changing the contrast, making all areas of the breast easier to see. If a patient’s doctor wants to consult a breast specialist about a patient’s mammogram, the digital image files can be electronically sent to other sites for examination.

With traditional mammography, developing film takes time and, if an image is unclear and additional images have to be taken, the patient’s visit will be extended.

“With digital mammography, if the image is unclear, the patient will be told right away and the image can be retaken,” said Haley Grant, TRMC mammography technician. “This can help reduce mammogram callbacks and stress on the patient. With a traditional mammogram, a patient exam will usually be 20 minutes or more. With the digital mammogram machine, we can have the patient in and out of the exam in five to 10 minutes.”

Grant said the procedure for a mammogram is the same with the digital machine as with the traditional machine but it is more “patient friendly.”

“The procedure is not as uncomfortable as with the traditional machine because the exam is much shorter,” she said.

“We are proud to be able to offer this service to the women of the Pike County area. With the digital mammography machine, Troy Regional Medical Center is making huge strides in women’s health care in Pike County.”