EPIC Imaging has a long standing commitment to women’s imaging and mammography. We were the first local facility to be accredited by the American College of Radiology. Later, when FDA certification came into existence, EPIC received this seal as well. Today, EPIC Imaging is one of the few facilities in the region to achieve certification as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. This designation is awarded only to those centers dedicated to improving women’s health by participating in rigorous, voluntary quality assurance programs. Evaluations conducted in each breast imaging technology by independent board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field have determined that EPIC Imaging has achieved the highest practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.
Since coming into being in the mid 1960′s, mammography has saved countless lives through the early detection of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends all women have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40. After 40, a woman should have a mammogram annually. When a radiologist “reads” or evaluates your exam, what he or she is doing is analyzing your current image in comparison to these past historical views.
Beyond screening, any woman who feels a lump or change in her breast should schedule an immediate diagnostic mammogram. This is a term used to describe a more extensive work-up of any area that needs further clarification. Breast cancer has an excellent 95% plus survival rate when caught early. Scheduling at the first sign of a problem is important.
Another important use for mammography is as a guide in biopsies. At EPIC, we frequently perform what is known as a stereotactic core biopsy. A special computer driven device is attached to the mammogram machine to help us locate with extreme accuracy the location and depth of the area being biopsied. Tissue samples are then taken with the aid of needle, a much less invasive alternative to surgical biopsy.
All mammography services at EPIC Imaging are performed with digital mammography machines, the most advanced technology available.
How Digital Mammography Works
Like standard mammography, digital mammography uses x-rays to produce images of the breast. The technology utilizes a low energy x-ray beam focused on a smaller target area than normal x-ray machines. To achieve the clarity necessary for proper screening, the breast must be compressed to even out its thickness. This allows us to see small abnormalities that would otherwise be hidden by overlying breast tissue. Compression takes place by positioning the breast between the image receptor and a soft plastic compression paddle.
Instead of capturing an image on film, within seconds digital mammography sends the image directly to a computer. Once there, we can put the power of the computer to work. If we have a concern, we can zoom in, enhance the area and examine it more closely without having to take additional pictures. Exams are twice as fast with significantly less radiation exposure.
At EPIC Imaging, we have used digital mammography since September 2000, making us the most experienced center in Oregon in this remarkable technology. Because images are immediate, call-backs have been greatly reduced. By adjusting contrast levels we have been able to reveal early calcifications and very small cancers that might have been missed in the single contrast world of film. The technology is ideal for seeing through dense breast tissue and offers better visibility of the breast near the skin line and chest wall.
In 2002 the technology was improved yet again when EPIC added a computer software program known as CAD to our digitally acquired images. CAD is short for Computer Aided Diagnosis. Using advanced mathematical measurements called algorithms, CAD allows the radiologist to conduct a computerized review of digital breast images. This review enables the radiologist to confirm an interpretation or highlight a potential area of concern that may not have been initially apparent to the eye. Research confirms CAD is helping find cancers at very early stages when treatment is most effective.Return to top