New 3D imaging mammography machine now available at AMC
Will expand services, keep patients local
SARANAC LAKE — A new 3D imaging mammography machine at Adirondack Medical Center expands the screening options available at the hospital, keeping more patients local.
“The new machine is a GE Pristina 3D mammography unit. It’s the latest and greatest state-of-the-art, mammo-unit out there from GE right now,” said Jim Sabin, director of diagnostic imaging at AMC. “3D mammo is proven to detect smaller cancers earlier in men and women, therefore saving lives.”
Rolled out by GE in 2016, the Pristina cost the hospital around $340,000 — all of which was covered by a grant and charitable donations. The majority of the funding — $300,000, was given by the Charles Wood Foundation in Glens Falls. The remaining $40,000 was given by a local donor who wanted to remain anonymous, said Heidi Bailey, grants coordinator at Adirondack Health.
The hospital’s old 2D machine was not able to effectively image dense breast tissue, Sabin said, making it necessary for those patients to go to another hospital for care.
“Those women that we couldn’t screen had to travel long distances to get it and that’s stressful in and of itself,” Bailey said. “Now that we’re able to provide this for our family members, our moms and daughters and aunts so that they don’t have to go and travel 45 — an hour away.”
“Not only are we getting more information — we’re getting better pictures, but the radiation dose is less than conventional mammo,” Sabin said.
Sabin said another expected result of the machine is less anxiety and health care costs for return visits by patients. The machine will provide more accurate imaging and therefore fewer false positives.
The machine saw its first use with a patient on Wednesday, and Sabin said he anticipates around 50 patients a week to use the machine — with the ability to expand that if there’s a need.
“Very soon we expect to be able to offer the ability to do stereotactic breast biopsies,” Sabin said. “That’s a small biopsy of breast tissue that right now patients are having to travel outside of the area to have that done.”
It’s a minimally invasive procedure, said Amelia Frazier RTRN at AMC, where the Prestina takes the x, y and z coordinates of the area that needs to be tested. A needle is then inserted, taking spaghetti-like tissue samples that can then be imaged and analyzed. That would not have been possible with just the 2-dimensional imaging machine the hospital used to have.
Often this will be done to look at microcalcifications, said Lisa Eggers, clinical applications specialist with GE Healthcare. The density and pattern of the microcalcifications, which appear as little pin knots when imaged, can be an early warning sign of breast cancer.
Now able to be sampled and tested with the Pristina, patients will no longer have to undergo a more invasive procedure under a knife, or travel to another location to get screened.