Nov 16, 2011

Baxter Regional Adds New Mammography Technology

Baxter Regional Medical Center has taken an early lead in the race for a newer and more accurate breast cancer detection technology.

Hospital officials and medical staff assembled with community leaders in the Lagerborg Dining Room on the BRMC campus Tuesday to announce the hospital's addition of the Hologic brand of tomosynthesis digital mammography and bone densitometry technology.

BRMC began about six weeks ago using the $1.7-million technology that in a single examination captures multiple high-resolution views of breast tissue from multiple angles and converts those images via computer into 3-dimensional images. It shows image slices down to 1 millimeter, according to Dr. Kyle McAlister, BRMC radiologist. The mammography scans being replaced by the new technology provided a 2-dimensional view of breast tissue that were sometimes complicated by tissue that overlapped and obscured the smallest and most subtle signs of early cancer, McAlister said. McAlister said Monday he had conducted more than 100 tomosynthesis scans since the new technology was put to work and none of those has required a call-back for new imaging.

BRMC CEO Ron Peterson told the group the effort to prepare for the arrival of the new technology began in a hospital staff meeting about two years ago. BRMC radiologist Dr. William Landrum shared his understanding then of the emerging new technology and urged his peers and hospital administrators to prepare for its arrival.

Randy Gontin, director of BRMC's Radiology Services, after attending a technology demonstration that year, clinched plans for the BRMC radiology department to prepare for Food and Drug Administration approval of the technology which came in February.

On Tuesday, BRMC laid claim to being the only hospital in Arkansas or Missouri to own the technology and employ a staff of radiologists and mammographers certified in the application of Hologic Tomosynthesis Digital Mammography and Densitometry. Gontin said three of four BRMC radiologists have completed eight hours of continuing education on the application and reading of Hologic technology and imagery. Five of six mammographers have completed training in the use of Hologic technology, he said.

McAlister told the group the Hologic technology puts BRMC on par with some of the South's leading cancer hospitals.

"We can do anything here that they can do in Houston or Memphis or St. Louis," McAlister said. Other hospitals, including University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, are on track to add 3-dimensional mammography imaging sometime in 2012, McAlister said.

Barney Larry, president of the BRMC Foundation, told the group that BRMC is one of about 100 hospital across the U.S. to add 3-dimensional mammography imaging. More then 8,000 hospitals in the U.S. provide screening services for breast cancer, he said.

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