Q&A: Is Digital Mammography More Accurate?
What is a digital mammogram? Is it more accurate?
- The traditional mammogram was a film-screen, or analog, mammogram. In 2000, the FDA approved the use of digital mammography units. An x-ray is still taken, but instead of the beam being directly translated onto a film, the beam is converted to digital data that is then processed to appear on a computer monitor. The digital image can be manipulated on the computer screen, with tools for magnification, contrast and windowing adjustments, sharpening, etc. Approximately 80% of the mammography units in the U.S. are now digital. The radiation dose is lower than film-screen mammography, and a large-scale study showed somewhat better cancer detection in dense breasts. If you have a choice between a digital or a film-screen mammogram, go for the digital.