Digital mammography is a specialized form of mammography that uses digital receptors and computers instead of x-ray film to help examine breast tissue for breast cancer. The electrical signals can be read on computer screens, permitting more manipulation of images to theoretically allow radiologists to more clearly view the results. Digital mammography may be "spot view", for breast biopsy, or "full field" (FFDM) for screening.
While radiologists had hoped for more marked improvement, the effectiveness of digital mammography was found comparable to traditional x-ray methods in 2004, though there may be reduced radiation with the technique and it may lead to fewer retests. Specifically, it performs no better than film for post-menopausal women, who represent more than three-quarters of women with breast cancer.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend for or against digital mammography.
As of 2007, about 8% of American screening centers used digital mammography. Around the globe, systems by Fujifilm Corporation are the most widely used.
In the United States, GE's digital imaging units typically cost US$300,000 to $500,000, far more than film-based imaging systems. Costs may lower as GE begins to compete with the less expensive Fuji systems.
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