KATY, TEXAS (October 05, 2012)

An innovative type of mammography that improves physicians' ability to detect smaller tumors at the earliest stages of breast cancer is now available at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

Breast tomosynthesis is a 3-D imaging technology that enables radiologists to see "inside" the breast. It combines data from a series of low-dose radiation, two-dimensional (2-D) images taken during a short scan to create a single three-dimensional (3-D) image of the breast. While breast tomosynthesis will look and feel the same to the patient, it offers a number of advantages over conventional 2-D digital mammography, including improved diagnostic and screening accuracy, fewer recalls, greater radiologist confidence, and 3-D lesion localization.

"The quality of images with 2-D digital mammography systems is excellent and is still considered the gold standard of breast screening, but the ability to peel away layers with tomosynthesis is a tremendous advance," said Sonja Longbotham, M.D., the breast radiologist at the hospital. "It provides an opportunity to improve what we're doing in breast screening, especially for women with dense or fatty breast tissue."

Breast tomosynthesis is now available to patients who are due for their yearly screening mammogram. Since the technology is not yet covered by insurance, Memorial Hermann Health System will bill the patient's insurance for a 2-D digital mammogram and charge a nominal fee of $50 for the advanced service upon patient request. Patients must have a mammogram order from a referring physician, such as their PCP or OB/Gyn, to have breast tomosynthesis.

"We are extremely excited to be able to offer breast tomosynthesis to our patients," said Scott Barbe, chief executive officer of Memorial Hermann Katy. "The addition of this new technology in our hospital highlights our significant commitment to women's health."