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Archive 2011
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Archive 2012
HGH Announces 2012 Childbirth Education Schedule
Humboldt General Hospital Unveils 12-Week Plan for Optimal Health
First Baby of New Year Born at Humboldt General Hospital
Humboldt General Hospital Prepares to Debut Digital Mammography
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Hospital's 2012 'Healthy Year, Healthy You' Series Kicks Off January 19
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In The News > Archive 2012 > Humboldt General Hospital Prepares to Debut Digital Mammography

Humboldt General Hospital Prepares to Debut Digital Mammography

January 6, 2011

Humboldt General Hospital's Radiology Department has exciting news: Digital Mammography has finally arrived in Humboldt County

The Selenia Dimensions 2D Full-Field Digital Mammography System will be ready for patients on Thursday, January 19. However, no mammography studies will take place between Monday, January 9, and Wednesday, January 18, as the new equipment is installed.

The $225,000 machine was approved by the Humboldt General Hospital District Board of Trustees in October 2011.

With digital mammography, low energy x-rays pass through the breast exactly like conventional mammograms but are recorded by means of an electronic digital detector instead of film.

This electronic image can be displayed on a video monitor like a TV or printed onto film and CD. Radiologists are then able to manipulate the digital image electronically to magnify an area, change contrast, or alter the brightness.

Humboldt General Hospital Radiology Manager Pam Wickkiser said the new digital mammography unit constitutes the latest technology in breast cancer detection.

"We really did our homework on this one," said Wickkiser of the new machine. "Mammography is the last of our modalities to go digital and we've just been waiting to make this change."

She added, "This is truly a superior early detection tool for our patients."

Patients undergoing digital mammographic examinations will see few differences during the examination itself.

There is more equipment in the room, including a small TV monitor, which allows the mammographic technologist to view the mammogram in several seconds instead of developing films and waiting ten minutes to see an image.

Breast compression, unfortunately, is still required to produce optimal images at the lowest possible radiation dose.

Wickkiser said digital mammography offers many practical advantages over film screen mammography by improving contrast and signal to noise ratios, and allowing for better cancer detection.

Additionally, the machine's near instantaneous image acquisition and the ability to transmit images electronically around the world are also significant advantages.

Another advantage to the new machine is that the call-back rate (the number of women who need to return for additional diagnostic mammograms after a screening mammogram) will decline.

Also, since digital images are available within seconds of exposure, interventional procedures such as needle localizations requiring x-ray guidance performed on digital machines are much faster for the patient. The time the breast is in compression is also shorter.

"We are really thrilled with this new technology and with the advantages it will give our patients," said Wickkiser. "Breast cancer has a high cure rate when caught early; this machine will be a great ally in our quest for early detection."

Humboldt General Hospital's Radiology Department will host a Digital Mammo Open House later this month to introduce the new machine to local residents.

The open house will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, January 28, in the Radiology Department at the hospital. All local residents are invited to stop by for a free continental breakfast, tours of the mammo room, free giveaways and the chance to take part in creating a "Wall of Hope" in honor of breast cancer fighters and survivors.

For more information on the hospital's new Selenia Dimensions 2D Full-Field Digital Mammography System or on the Digital Mammo Open House scheduled for Saturday, January 28, please call Humboldt General Hospital Radiology Manager Pam Wickkiser at (775) 623-5222, ext. 130.