The wait for the digital mammography market to take shape may finally be over. Fischer Imaging has joined GE in selling full-field digital units in the U.S., and Hologic, with an
The wait for the digital mammography market to take shape may finally be over. Fischer Imaging has joined GE in selling full-field digital units in the U.S., and Hologic, with an FDA approvable letter in hand, may be only weeks or months away from doing the same. But high prices and continued debate over the relative advantages of different types of detectors could make buyers pause.
Fischer and Hologic use charge-coupled devices (CCD): slot scanning for Fisher and a plate for Hologic. GE¹s system is based on amorphous silicon, while Hologic and other vendors including Sectra, Planmed, and BioScan are planning other technologies. Meanwhile, phosphor-based computed radiography (CR) may be a viable option in the near future. Analog screen-film mammography systems remain the profession¹s workhorses, as vendors continue to upgrade these conventional systems.
The Swiss firm, founded in 1990 by physicists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), focuses on biomedical x-ray imaging and nondestructive testing. It has developed a prototype digital mammography system using a sensor based on complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology.
FDA market clearance for SenoScan arrived last fall, placing the vendor second after GE to hit the U.S. market with a full-field digital mammography system. The slot-scanning technology uses CCD detectors. The unit¹s list price is $469,950.
Fujifilm Medical Systems
Having once touted its stimulable phosphor CR equipment in mammographic applications and then backed off because of FDA concerns, the Japanese imaging vendor is running clinical trials to prove that its latest technology is up to the task.
GE Medical Systems
The company was the first vendor to enter the U.S. market with a full-field digital mammography system. Engineers continue to broaden the marketing program for this digital technology, while upgrading conventional systems.
Through its acquisition of Trex Medical, Hologic has ascended to the upper echelon of both screen-film and digital mammography.
The company is part of an international vendor of anesthesia and other medical equipment. Instrumentarium Imaging makes several types of commercial mammography products, including Diamond, TACT Digital 3D, Performa, and Alpha.
Internazionale Medico Scientifica (IMS)
The company first demonstrated innovative mammographic equipment at the 1993 RSNA meeting. Internazionale Medico Scientifica has continued its development of novel screen-film devices, while launching an effort to produce a full-field digital system.
Philips Medical Systems
Multimodality vendor Philips appears determined to offer something for everyone. The company released a new screen-film system as part of its initiative in women¹s health.
The Finnish company is best known for its novel Sophie mammography systems, particularly its flagship Planmed Sophie and value-oriented Planmed Sophie Classic.
PACS and diagnostic workstations are the focus of Sectra Imtec. The company nonetheless has for several years been developing digital mammography equipment it¹s calling MicroDose Mammography (MDM), which promises to slash radiation dose to one-fifth the amount typically delivered by analog systems.
Siemens Medical Systems
Although a major supplier of analog mammographic equipment, as well as a digital biopsy unit, Siemens has not yet developed a digital mammography system. The German vendor is moving in this direction, however, with alliances in CR and flat-panel detectors.