GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Three-dimensional mammography, otherwise known as tomosynthesis is making an impact in the Magic Valley.
"It helps find cancer smaller and sooner than the older technology," explained Patti Allan, Diagnostic Imaging Director at North Canyon Medical Center.
After a year long process, the North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding put it in use last month and became the first in the Magic Valley to do so.
The new machine brings many benefits, especially for those with dense breast tissue.
The 3-D machine looks similar to a 2-D machine, but can rotate to capture the different layers of the breast tissue and detect cancer 15 months earlier than a 2-D.
A 2-D image "has very good image quality but you can see that there's a dense area that has a lot of breast tissue that's all stacked up," explained a radiologist comparing two images.
Comparable to a stack of cards, "the radiologist might require extra imaging to see what's going on in there. What is hiding in there?," said the radiologist.
That would lead to more anxiety in patients due to callbacks, which a 3-D mammogram could prevent.
On a 3-D image, the radiologist can actually page through each one of those layers and say 'Hey, that's just normal breast tissue for that patient'.
This would also mean less radiation exposure for patients. However, radiologists still do 2-D mammograms with the 3-D component.
"It's just extra information that we're able to provide to our patients," said the radiologist.
To ensure that women aren't held back from getting a mammogram, they also offer year-round assistance for those who cannot afford one.