Vendors set RSNA table with digital mammography

November 5, 2004

Digital systems will again dominate the mammography offerings of vendors at the RSNA meeting, as GE Healthcare, Hologic, and Fischer Imaging focus attention on their full-field versions. The range of product choices will expand this year, however, with the introduction of the Mammomat Novation by Siemens Medical Solutions.

The system, which was approved by the FDA in August, supports digital screening, diagnostic imaging, and stereotactic biopsy. It features a 25 x 29-cm flat-panel amorphous selenium detector, which accommodates a wide range of breast sizes, and a paddle designed for easier, more comfortable positioning. Novation is bundled with MammoReport Plus, a dedicated mammography workstation that enables high-volume mammogram reading and an optimized workflow.

Siemens has previously shown the system at the RSNA meeting as a work-in-progress. This year's display will go beyond the basic full-field digital detector, acquisition workstation, and reporting workstation, however, to demonstrate how the system integrates with Siemens' syngo user interface and other components, said Don Alvarez, director of women's health.

Siemens will also show its computer-aided detection software in mammography as a work-in-progress. The company acquired Israel-based CADVision Medical Technologies in July.

Although Siemens is entering the market well behind its competitors-GE introduced its FFDM version of the Senographe some four years ago-Alvarez says the company is not at a serious disadvantage. Rather, the delay provided Siemens with the opportunity to evaluate the market and to optimize the Novation accordingly.

"We are closing the circle with a full-force introduction of mammography as part of the larger PACS enterprise," he said.

Fujifilm Medical Systems is also stressing PACS integration. The company's FCR-M computed radiography mammography system is being reviewed as part of the premarket approval process. If approved, the system will give the company a turnkey solution that addresses image acquisition, CAD, and printing.

"We have the acquisition technology, the display technology, and our PACS Synapse, which is approved for display of mammography images," said Andy Vandergrift, national program manager for women's healthcare imaging systems at Fuji.

Fischer Imaging will focus not only on its SenoScan, but on ancillary products made possible by a series of alliances the company has struck over the last few months. These include agreements with Kodak in conjunction with its PACS and archiving offerings, Cedara for workstation software, and InSiteOne for an outsourced digital archive.

As it did last year, Hologic will show its full-field digital breast tomosynthesis system as a work-in-progress. The company hopes to begin marketing the system in mid-2006, pending FDA premarket approval. Hologic will also show its SecureViewDX breast imaging workstation, which was cleared for marketing in August.

"SecureView is intended to be sold with Selenia but has the utility to be used with other modality platforms in addition to ours and to display and manipulate other modalities in addition to x-ray," said president and COO Rob Cascella.

That suite will include the company's iCAD software, which Hologic expects will have received FDA clearance by the time of the RSNA meeting.

GE, the company that pioneered commercial FFDM, will be at the show with its Senographe DS, a full-field digital system capable of screening, diagnosis, stereotaxy, and presurgical localization. The system was shown as a work-in-progress at the 2003 meeting and was cleared for marketing in February. Alongside the Senographe will be the SenoAdvantage workstation, which also was shown as a work-in-progress last year and has since cleared the FDA. It boasts full multimodality capability. These products will complement other digital and film-based systems, some of which were obtained through the company's acquisition of Instrumentarium.

"We address the overall diagnostic management of breast cancer," said Jean Hooks, general manager for global mammography at GE. "We want to make sure our business demonstrates the results of combining GE, Instrumentarium, and Amersham."