3D mammography (DBT-Digital Breast Tomosynthesis) has been promoted to the public as the “latest and greatest” form of mammographic imaging. Mammography centers have been slowly converting their systems to 3D units, as many feel pressure to keep up with their imaging competitors. Research has shown that 3D imaging significantly decreases call-back rates, however the cancer detection rate has only been shown to increase by 1-2 incidences/1000 patients. This month a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology found no significant difference in the cancer detection rate of 2D full-field digital mammography vs. 3D mammography. Perhaps those who are being persuaded to have 3D mammography should look further into the necessity of such imaging. It is important to note that in most cases a 2D image is also acquired when a 3D image is obtained, thus doubling radiation dose. Additionally, many insurance carriers do not cover the cost of screening with 3D. Be aware of your care!
Julie S. Gershon, M.D.