Full-field digital, tomosynthesis continue to set the pace in mammography

January 10, 2005

Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) captured the lion’s share of attention during the 2004 RSNA meeting. As expected, Siemens Medical Solutions showed its Mammomat Novation as a marketable product, while several other manufacturers reappeared with upgraded products or works-in-progress.

Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) captured the lion's share of attention during the 2004 RSNA meeting. As expected, Siemens Medical Solutions showed its Mammomat Novation as a marketable product, while several other manufacturers reappeared with upgraded products or works-in-progress.

Pressing forward with their own full-field systems were Giotto and Planmed. Both hope to show commercially available versions of their products during the 2005 RSNA meeting.

Following Hologic's lead during the 2003 RSNA show, tomosynthesis made inroads, though the capability appears to be at least 18 months from commercialization. This year, Siemens also showed tomosynthesis as a work-in-progress.

As FFDM has matured, dedicated mammography workstations continue to proliferate, with most manufacturers offering their own stations or partnering to provide the capability.

Cedara Software

An independent provider of medical imaging technologies, Cedara deploys its software in hospitals and clinics worldwide, while licensing OEM versions for use in privately labeled imaging systems and information technologies.

  • The I-ReadMammo breast imaging workstation employs automated presentation procedures to optimize viewing of current and prior mammograms. Features include a customizable viewing sequence that allows users to prescribe the image layout, presentation, and view order. Prior images can be digitized to eliminate light boxes that diminish reading conditions.

  • I-Acquire/MG is a mammography scanning console application designed to optimize hospital workflow. The console application can be integrated with various mammography machines.

Dobi Medical International

Founded to develop and commercialize imaging technologies designed to improve the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, Dobi has developed the ComfortScan system. The digital imaging device, designed to provide information that may significantly enhance breast cancer diagnosis, is based on optical imaging technology.

  • The work-in-progress ComfortScan detects tumor angiogenesis, long associated with aggressive or malignant breast tumors. The platform provides high-quality, near-real-time digital scans using light and proprietary image processing algorithms.

Fischer Imaging

The company designs, manufactures, and markets medical imaging systems for screening and diagnosing disease. It focuses on women's health, particularly the detection of breast cancer through the application of digital imaging technologies.

  • SenoScan FFDM was reintroduced as SenoScan2, incorporating a mechanical design to improve system performance. The new model includes features to increase productivity. With the slot scanning camera design, optimal exposure is expected to improve image quality, reduce patient risk, and potentially increase the system's tube life.

  • SenoView mammography workstation offers dedicated tool sets and a PACS-like design that facilitates soft-copy reading. SenoView can deliver optimal workflow and reading efficiency compared with traditional screen-film mammography systems, with the added versatility of a PACS review station.

Fujifilm Medical Systems

With 70 years of imaging experience and $20 billion in sales behind it, Fujifilm continues its transition from a film- to an electronics-based company. In recent years, the company has striven to present turnkey imaging solutions in radiography and mammography.

  • FCR, Fujifilm's CR mammography system, remains a work-in-progress. The company's CR solution is built around its ClearView-CS reader, which accepts a dual-sided imaging plate with clear polyester base and can read information from both sides of the plate using a 50-micron laser to enhance image quality.

  • Synapse Multimodality Breast Imaging Workstation provides the same functionality as Fuji's well-established Synapse PACS, adding consistency and efficiency to the interpretation of breast imaging studies.

GE Healthcare

The company's expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, and patient monitoring systems is dedicated to detecting disease early so as to tailor treatment to each patient. The goal is to provide transformational medical technologies that improve patient care.

  • The Senographe DS, a work-in-progress last year, is a commercial FFDM system designed to meet various clinical needs, including screening, diagnostic imaging, and intervention. The DS and SenoAdvantage multimodality breast imaging workstation are components of the company's Breastcare Essentials, an imaging and information management solution. Features include a Revolution detector, rhodium track tube, optimized image quality/dose management, and tissue equalization.

Giotto USA

Established in 2003, Giotto USA is dedicated to the sale of mammography systems in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

  • Giotto Image FFDM, a work-in-progress, features face-to-face positioning. Its circular gantry facilitates patient positioning, enabling imaging close to the breast wall. Its amorphous selenium detector comes in two sizes. It features high signal to noise and fast acquisition and processing, minimizing time between exposures and advanced AEC.

Hologic

The company has made women's health a priority. It also serves as a supplier of digital imaging technology for OEMs in both mammography and radiography.

  • SecureView, cleared in August, is a dedicated multimodality workstation for displaying and interpreting screening and diagnostic digital mammograms as well as CT, MRI, PET, and ultrasound images. It supports digital CAD programs.

  • The Selenia FFDM system combines advances in digital imaging technology with advanced workflow and image management capabilities. Features include a digital detector, 70-micron pixel size, high-transmission cellular grid, and the company's Smart Paddle system. Selenia was shown with Hologic's work-in-progress tomosynthesis capability, which may be commercialized in 2006.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta is a manufacturer and distributor of digital and traditional imaging products for diagnostic use by hospitals, imaging centers, clinics, and private practice physicians.

  • Phase Contrast Mammography, a CR-based system, is a work-in-progress. It employs a phase shift technique to enhance contrast at the edge of an object resulting from x-ray refraction. That edge effect promises to enable visualization of difficult-to-detect microcalcifications.

Philips Medical Systems

Royal Philips Electronics is one of the world's largest electronics companies, with interests in three interlocking domains: healthcare, lifestyle, and technology. It competes with GE and Siemens for market leadership in various areas of medical diagnostic imaging.

  • MammoDiagnost FD Eleva boasts direct digital detector technology, promising 25-micron resolution. The system provides high resolution, low radiation dose, and a large detector to accommodate virtually any breast size. Not yet available in the U.S., the Eleva is equipped with Unique, the company's multiresolution image processing software. Unique was designed to maximize image quality with enhanced detail.

  • The MammoDiagnost, a film-based breast imaging and biopsy guidance system, offers a user-friendly design, advanced functions, and proven reliability. Other capabilities include screening, special views, magnification, stereotactic fine-needle aspiration and needle localization, stereotactic core biopsy, and specimen radiography.

  • The EasyVision Mammo workstation enables access to and display of digital mammograms with one-key functionality.

Planmed

Planmed manufactures and markets advanced imaging products within the medical field. The company's mammography equipment is known for its ergonomics and tailored features.

  • Work-in-progress Nuance FFDM was displayed with tomosynthesis. Billed as enabling easy image acquisition, the system promises a choice of two detector sizes using direct digital capture amorphous selenium detector technology. Geometric magnification is accomplished with a one-piece magnification tower that provides multiple imaging possibilities: 1.6x, 1.8x, and 2x. Precise needle guidance for stereotactic breast biopsy is accomplished with the optional DigiGuide system.

Siemens Medical Solutions

Like GE and Philips, Siemens is a multimodality imaging leader with a reputation for consistency. Its solutions range from imaging and therapy equipment to electromedical instruments.

  • The Mammomat Novation debuted as a marketable product. Providing digital screening, diagnosis, and stereotactic biopsy capabilities, it includes such key features as a tungsten tube, which facilitates 60% dose reduction, and an interface with the MammoReport Plus dedicated mammography reading station.

  • MammoReport Plus allows soft-copy reading of mammograms. Designed to access current and archived images, the workstation features fast image loading, simple operation, customized workflow, and quick image review with up to four images displayed simultaneously and one-second switching to other images.