Olympic Medical Center to spend $1.4 million on mammography gear

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Olympic Medical Center will spend $1.4 million next year on a 3-D tomosynthesis digital mammography system that will capture multi-layered images for the early detection of breast cancer.

The technology will reduce the need for additional imaging, improve the accuracy of a diagnosis and provide more comfort to patients, interim Director of Diagnostic Imaging John Troglia told hospital commissioners this week.

“The use of the tomosynthesis technology allows the radiologist to scan through the tissue layers to see underlying masses,” Troglia said.

Three locations

OMC put $1.4 million in its 2014 capital budget to purchase three 3-D mammography machines: one for the hospital, one for its imaging center in Port Angeles and one for its imaging center in Sequim.

The 3-D units will replace the two-dimensional digital mammography machines that OMC currently uses.

The old units will be traded in, Troglia said.

“A major factor contributing to the limitations of 2-D that we currently have is tissue superimposition that is created by the overlap of normal breast structures in a two-dimensional mammographic projection,” Troglia said.

“Superimposition can hide or mimic pathology.”

He added: “If you're looking at a 2-D [image], the radiologist is not going to have as much confidence as if you can go through all the tissue because of that overlying problem.

“It definitely increases your confidence.”

1 millimeter layers

The 3-D units have a tube that moves around the breast to produce images in 1 millimeter layers.

Troglia described the technology as “similar to CT where we scan around the body.”

“You're able to see the slices throughout the patient at different levels,” he said.

Troglia said he will make a formal request at a future board meeting for the purchase of the machines and associated work stations.

OMC Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis has described the 3-D system as a “quantum leap in technology.”

“I think this is a huge quality advancement,” Lewis said at the Wednesday commissioners meeting.

“On the economics, it's really about hopefully being able to earn people's business that are currently going out of town for the 3-D, and keeping the current business we have.”

Troglia said more and more hospitals are deploying 3-D mammography systems.

“We're always in competition with other hospitals,” Troglia said.

“We're trying to move to the next technology and the best technology.”

Only five hospitals in the state had 3-D tomosynthesis systems in 2012 compared with nearly three dozen that have the technology now, Troglia said.

“It has just blown up,” he said.

“We're really in a lot of competition to keep patients in our area with this new technology.

“And it is definitely improving the pickup of cancer.”

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 07. 2013 6:27PM
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