Posted: January 1, 2013

The medical blogosphere has been abuzz with three-dimensional mammography.  Now a report in the January, 2013 issue of Radiology, printed online in advance of print publication, compares traditional with three-dimensional mammography, so called tomosynthesis.  In this study patients with abnormal mammograms were given either additional compression or coned-down views (traditional) versus three-dimensional mammograms.  The 3D studies were much more helpful in discriminating benign from malignant lesions.  Patients given this procedure in the future could reasonably expect fewer breast biopsies for benign lesions without any loss of sensitivity, i.e., without having the doctors miss any cancers in the process.  This study was randomized and the results were highly significantly positive in favor of the 3D group, but the numbers were small and will require verification.  The paper is available only to those authorized to view it, but if any readers of this posting wish to see the full paper they should contact Dr. Stark by filling out the form to the right.  This technology is the first major advance in breast imaging since breast MRI but its final role in the way patients are evaluated has not been firmed up.