What is digital tomosynthesis in digital mammography?

Updated: Jan 31, 2017
  • Author: Muhammad Neaman Siddique, MBBS; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Digital tomosynthesis is a further advancement of digital mammography. In 2011, the FDA approved the use of digital breast tomosynthesis, or 3-dimensional (3-D) mammography, which constructs 3-D images of the breast. [1] A 3-dimensional digital data is acquired with the help of a moving X-ray source and a digital detector and is further processed using computer algorithms to generate thin sections of images. This 3-dimensional reconstruction improves the demarcation of a lesion by reducing the overlap from surrounding structures. Available data suggests that this technique may improve both the sensitivity and specificity of mammographic detection of cancer. However, it requires longer radiation exposure and there remains a concern for increased risk of motion artifact with this technique. [16]

In a British study, in assessing mammographic abnormalities, two-view mammography with one-view digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) showed significantly higher accuracy compared to two-view mammography and coned compression magnification mammography (CCMM). According to the authors, these results showed that DBT can help evaluate mammographic screening abnormalities. [17]

For further information on digital tomosynthesis see the Medscape Reference topic 3D Mammography.

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