WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- You're familiar with low dose medications, but what about low dose mammograms? Europe & Asia have had the technology for years. Now, this new low dose, mammography system has been approved for use in this country. Locally, they're taking the wraps off what's being called "the next generation of mammography" at United Medical Center in SE Washington.
"We're offering excellence in all areas of radiology. We're like the Seabiscuits of hospitals. We've achieved excellence despite all of our challenges," said Dr. Raymond Tu, Chairman Of Diagnostic & Interventional Radiology at United Medical Center.
Like Seabiscuit, he believes the hospital in Southeast D.C. is a true champion in the fight against breast cancer. To their ACR accredited MRI, Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine services, UMC has added MicroDose full field mammography. The FDA approved, cutting edge technology is a first for our area and a giant leap forward for the former Greater SouthEast Community Hospital. In this digital age, UMC was still using film for screening mammograms.
Dr. Tu shared, "...first of all, the radiation dosage is half the standard mammograms. And number two, the detector itself is twice, three times more greater in density compared to standard mammogram technology so the image quality is superior to standard mammograms."
MicroDose works using a photon detector which minimizes scatter or ghost images.
"This actual piece moves across the breast like a fan. Every X-Ray is perfectly focused from here to the breast tissue, to the detector," pointed out Dr. Tu.
While maintaining quality and accuracy, Dr. Tu says studies show cutting the radiation in half also lowers the risk of radiation induced breast cancers. One less medical concern for his patients who come from DC Wards 7 and 8 and bordering Prince George's County neighborhoods.
Tu explained, "They have complex issues. Many of them need additional imaging for other medical problems so that's why for me the priority of a lower radiation dose was an important decision."
Bringing MicroDose Technology to the United Medical Center is the first phase of the hospital's master plan for creating a comprehensive women's health center.
"We have something wonderful to offer here," said Tu.
Tu added, "I think women and men will be inconvenienced and travel a little further distance and come to the United Medical Center for their mammogram because they know that it's a safe procedure with half the radiation dose; it makes sense."
MicroDose is now ready for patients. There will be a formal ribbon cutting ceremony in October, breast cancer awareness month.