Breast Imaging: Images and Business Made Better
Integration is the name of the game for breast imaging vendors. Look for mammography PACS solutions and products to ease the transition from analog to digital. A number of vendors will provide a sneak peek of the future of breast imaging and highlight advances in tomosynthesis as well as new platforms to facilitate advanced breast imaging. Breast imaging centers and mammography providers also will find new software to streamline the business of mammography.

Hologic Inc. (Booth #7713) is showcasing the SecurView DX, a dedicated multimodality workstation for display and interpretation of any screening or diagnostic digital mammogram, as well as other images including MRI, CT, PET and ultrasound. It also supports CAD. SecurView is intended to serve as a complete system with bi-directional communication capabilities for the radiologist, technologist and peripheral users. The HIS-RIS integrated technologist workstation enables techs to review prior images, route images and receive electronic directions from the radiologist to further enhance digital efficiencies.

Other highlights from Hologic include the launch of iCAD's SecondLook CAD on its Selenia softcopy workstation, new features on its osteoporosis assessment system including QDR Mobility mobile reporting tools to enable physicians to receive BMD studies and generate reports using a wireless network. Hologic also is providing an overview of its progress on direct capture breast tomosynthesis. The company expects to integrate results from tomosynthesis clinical trials into its product development path in the next six to nine months with commercial release anticipated in 2006.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth #2729) is highlighting the Mammomat Novation full-field digital mammography system at its first RSNA meeting, having received its Pre-Market Approval Application (PMA) in August. The Mammomat Novation provides digital screening, diagnosis and stereotactic biopsy capabilities in one system. It features a flat- panel detector based on amorphous selenium (aSe) detector technology enabling a direct conversion of x-rays to digital information. The aSe detector technology has the potential to provide higher spatial resolution and greater clinical detail, according to Siemens. At 25 by 29 centimeters, the image detector size of the Mammomat Novation also enables imaging of a larger range of patient sizes, and the system features a new paddle designed for easier and more comfortable patient positioning.

The product also features the MammoReportPlus dedicated workstation for mammography, which provides high-volume mammogram reading and optimized workflow. The system's dedicated keypad and roaming/panning function gives full spatial resolution and allows users to switch between eight-view mammographic studies in less than one second. MammoReportPlus also is designed to meet future imaging needs and is prepared for digital computer-aided (CAD) applications.

GE Healthcare (Booth #2700) is featuring the Senographe DS. This advanced digital breast imaging system allows a woman to go through her screening mammogram, diagnostic work-ups, and biopsy (if needed) on the same system. The system has a patient-centric design and intuitive controls that allow the technologist to focus on the patient and makes the mammography exam an easier and more comfortable experience, according to GE. The company is demonstrating how the Senographe DS can serve as the platform for many advanced applications currently in development such as tomosynthesis (3D breast imaging), imaging fusion of FFDM and ultrasound and contrast media mammography.

GE also is showcasing its LOGIQ 9 ultrasound for breast imaging as well as other breast imaging tools, including Vibrant (Volume Imaging Breast Assessment) on its Signa 1.5 tesla MR system. Signa is powered by Excite, which uses advanced imaging software to enable a non-invasive imaging procedure of both breasts simultaneously in a single patient visit.

Other tools in GE's breast imaging arsenal include the Discovery ST PET-CT scanner for precise localization and Breastcare Essentials, a complete imaging and information management solution to help healthcare professionals detect breast cancer earlier and treat it more effectively.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #7113) is displaying a new digital mammography system it acquired the rights to from Fischer Imaging Corp. last month. Philips and Fischer inked a three-year, global agreement under which Philips will sell, service and support a specialized version of Fischer's digital mammography system integrated with Philips' UNIQUE image processing and user interface. Philips said the agreement extends its long experience in digital mammography with Philips computed radiography to direct digital mammography.

R2 Technology, Inc. (Booth #8532) is debuting new DigitalNow software, an archiving enabler designed to help prepare for the transition from film-based to digital mammography.  DigitalNow facilitates the transition to softcopy reading and improves the digital reading environment and workflow by eliminating the need for lightboxes next to high-resolution monitors. It features universal compatibility with all DICOM workstations and flexible electronic patient data system integration. Additionally, the DigitalNow software automatically identifies and orients mammography images (the four standard screening views) in support of the hanging protocols of advanced mammography workstations. Finally, by archiving the digitized images to a PACS or mini-PACS for future comparison, it will reduce on-site film storage dependence and file room workload. Developed specifically for use with the ImageChecker DM dual-mode (film and digital) mammography CAD system, the DigitalNow software is upgradeable to leverage the benefits of future CAD algorithms and advanced CAD applications.

Sectra AB (Booth #6517) is highlighting its MicroDose Mammography system, a new digital mammography unit optimized for high-volume screening, the company said. The system features a digital detector that enables dramatically reduced radiation dose without compromising image quality. MicroDose Mammography facilitates high throughput and makes it possible to perform one complete screening examination in four minutes.

DR Systems, Inc. (Booth #6533) is highlighting the recent FDA clearance of the addition of digital mammography to its PACS. The clearance, which covers the diagnostic reading of digital mammography images, allows the company's existing and future customers to fully integrate digital mammography into their DR Systems PACS network. The technology enables customers to eliminate their stand-alone mammography islands by integrating DR Systems' diagnostic reading, on-line storage, web distribution and archiving capabilities. The digital mammography capability is available via DR Systems Release 6 software using the company's Dominator Diagnostic Workstation, which provides filtering, sorting and worklist management capabilities for quick access to cases. DR Systems capabilities for digital mammography include the ability to view, archive and retrieve any previously digitized mammography images; connectivity to any FDA-cleared DICOM digital mammography device or mammography digitizer; image interpretation on commercially available FDA-cleared monitors; digital image manipulation; comparison to ultrasound, MRI, and other breast imaging studies; high-speed, efficient viewing and image distribution over the DR Systems integrated PACS/RIS network; automated mammography reporting, including dictation and voice recognition-based reports; easier image storage and archiving with an existing DR Systems RIS/PACS infrastructure; distribution of images and reports via CDs, the internet, or the web for remote viewing by/with other physicians and display of images produced by DICOM CAD systems.

MagView (Booth #7410) is showcasing the MagView mammography information system. Using the ACR BI-RADS Atlas of standardized reporting terminology, MagView allows users to create easy-to-understand, structured reports for all breast procedures, reducing transcription costs and turnaround time. MagView includes comprehensive patient tracking, follow-up and outcome monitoring systems for built-in MQSA compliance. MagView can be interfaced with any existing HIS, RIS, PACS and CAD systems via HL-7 and DICOM. The MagView Complete Breast Center Solution includes an integrated system for all information management needs, including scheduling, reporting, tracking, billing and management. The MagView system offers improved workflow management, improved productivity and increased reliability with a single integrated database and powerful features that have been proven over time in the clinical environment.

Fischer Imaging (Booth #5109) is featuring its SenoScan Digital Mammography system with 25-micron native diagnostic resolution and a larger field of view to accommodate most patients. Its curved breast support allows increased posterior tissue imaging and reduces motion artifacts, according to Fischer. Its slot-scanning technology and Cesium Iodide CCD receptor increases spatial resolution and reduces radiation dose.

Another highlight at the Fischer booth is the SenoView workstation with Cedara I-ReadMammo technology. The combination addresses the need to view prior images on film and the impact of multiple workstations and viewing monitors for multiple modalities and reporting systems. The workstation integrates with a film digitizing application, allowing radiologists to view current and prior images in a single format on one workstation. Display and viewing preferences, such as hanging protocols, toolbars and menus can be customized for every individual user for all modalities, offering optimal workflow and exam reading speed. 

Fischer also is showcasing an expanded family of softcopy review workstations, the SenoView and SenoView Plus, based on the integration of the Fischer SenoScan digital mammography system and the Cedara I-ReadMammo.

Another highlight at the Fischer booth is the MammoTest Select Breast Biopsy System. Its 1024x1024 digital detector delivers high-quality images with excellent spatial and contrast resolution. The open design of the MammoTest Select provides 360-degree lesion access, and the lateral arm helps access superficial lesions and thinly-compressed breast tissue.
Finally, Fischer Imaging is showing its vision for image fusion technology, particularly the roadmap for the fusion of ultrasound and tomosynthesis technologies. Fischer is exhibiting advancements under development for slot-scanning imaging for improvements in image quality and the reduced radiation exposure.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #7113) is highlighting its MammoDiagnost. The mammography solution encompasses PCR CosimaX, which upgrades any mammography system with a dedicated Philips Computed Radiography solution, EasyVision Mammo for viewing and reporting and MammoDiagnost FD for direct digital (DR) Mammography. The company is debutings its new MammoDiagnost FD, featuring pixel sizes of 50µm in screening mode and 25µm in diagnostic mode, low dosage and a large detector to accommodate every breast size. All of Philips digital radiography solutions, including mammography, provide UNIQUE multi-resolution image processing. UNIQUE software focuses on detail visibility and consistent quality for both CR and DR.

Planmed (Booth #8126) is using RSNA as the launching pad for the Nuance Classic analog system that is totally upgradeable to full field digital mammography. More details will be available at showtime.

Insight Management Systems, Inc. (Booth #1907) is debuting OmniTrack Women's Center Software, a fully integrated information system designed for women's and breast centers. OmniTrack can be customized to any healthcare environment doing mammography, ultrasound, stereotactic biopsies, surgical procedures, bone densitometry or ob/gyn. Modules include patient medical records, scheduling, front desk registration, paperless workflow, transcription, film tracking, mammography / MQSA, quality assurance, follow up/recall and case management. The system is fully HL7 compliant and integrates seamlessly with most HIS, PACS, billing and voice recognition systems.

Eastman Kodak Co. (Booth #3537) is bringing to RSNA its Kodak DirectView PACS System 5 Mammography Upgrade. The system provides efficient image review and storage for full-field digital mammography (FFDM) systems, ultrasound, MRI and other digital modalities used for mammography applications. The upgrade includes a specially designed mammography workstation with two 5 megapixel monitors and an ergonomically-designed hand controller. With the upgrade, users of Kodak's PACS System 5 platform can integrate digital mammography applications. The upgrade also can be configured with an entry-level PACS System 5 for breast imaging centers and other providers of mammography services.

DatCard Systems (Booth #1740) is rolling out MammoSmart, which provides patients with their complete mammography history and breast care information on an automatically produced CD-R/DVD-R. Each disc contains medical history, digital mammography images, personal demographics and insurance information. MammoSmart integrates with hospital registration, PACS and RIS/mammography systems.