Want cutting-edge mammography techonology? Visalia Imaging has just what you want — brand new 3D mamography equipment.
At the Visalia Women’s Imaging Specialist (Visalia Imaging) a 3D mammogram machine was installed in May, and their 3D Breast Ultrasound, also known as ABUS (automated breast ultrasound) was installed in March.
It is the first facility in Tulare County to offer 3D Mammograms and the only facility in the Central Valley to have the ABUS 3D ultrasound.
“You would have to go to Atascadero or Sacramento to get a 3D ultrasound,” said Radiology Manager Erika Balderas.
After a woman has a regular mammogram, and it is determined that she has dense breasts, the next best step is to have the 3D ultrasound.
“The 3d ultrasound is used as a supplemental imaging tool and can see a cancerous growth through dense breast tissue that a traditional mammogram cannot,” said physician liaison Kylie Van Houten.
That means earlier detection.
According to the ABUS website, approximately 40% of American women have dense breasts and that can increase a woman’s risk of develop cancer by 1-6 times. “ABUS has been proven to find 55% more invasive cancers after a normal or benign mammographic finding.”
Before the 3D breast ultrasound, a technician had to use a hand held transducer more known for prenatal exams. Each breast exam done with a transducer would create a different image making it difficult for the doctors to see changes in the breasts from the year to year.
Another option for dense breasts, or younger patients with the breast cancer gene, is the MRI. But that is a large dose of radiation for a young woman of 25 to be exposed to every year.
Ultrasounds have no radiation.
Mammograms use radiation but Balderas said the levels have come down greatly as the 3D technology improved. When the 3D mammogram scanner first came out about three years ago it emitted a large dose of radiation so Visalia Imaging decided against buying one. The new models now have the same radiation as a 2D mammogram machine.
Balderas also said the new model has a much better design without the sharp corners and flexible paddle which makes it much more comfortable for her patients.
All imaging exams require a doctor’s order, however the patient always has a choice of where to have their procedure done (regardless of the facility name on the order). Visalia Women’s Imaging Specialists is contracted with all local insurances, including medical.
Visalia Imaging is a privately owned imaging center that is not affiliated with any local hospitals. Even though Visalia Imaging is independent from Kaweah Delta their doctors work at both locations.
Visalia Imaging opened its doors in 2002 providing the community with MRI, CT, Ultrasound and X-ray services. In 2005 they expandedand named it Visalia Women’s Imaging Specialist to offer Mammograms and bone density exams.