Staying healthy

New technology offers comfortable alternative to mammograms

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

For women of a certain age, a referral for a mammogram can come with fear and dread. The traditionally-painful practice compresses the breast between two metal plates and doesn’t always come with clear results, especially for those with dense breast tissue. The accepted next step for women, especially those with dense breast tissue, is the ultrasound, and new technology could make these kinds of scans more comfortable in the future. SoftVue, developed in Detroit, allows a patient to lie face-down on a table, with a breast submerged in warm water while taking a scan. It takes only two minutes or less to scan the whole breast and chest wall – all without touching the patient, and with no radiation involved. The image is more comprehensive than those taken with hand-held ultrasound devices, too. “We see masses, but we also capture the sound signal as it goes through the tissue, and capture it on the other side so we can see the change in the sound speed,” explained Mark Forchette, president and CEO of Delphinus, which developed the technology. “What that lets us do is not only see the mass, but we also are able to see the character of the mass: Is it a cancer, (benign) fibroadenoma or cyst? That’s a huge change. Ultimately, if we’re able to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies we’ve done a huge service,” he said.

Read the full story on The Detroit News.

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