ThedaCare: 3D Mammograms improve detection, reduce false positives


3D Mammograms Improve Detection, Reduce False Positives

The number of mammogram images Dr. Susan Sung now reviews for each patient is around 160, up from just four less than a year ago. Dr. Sung, a diagnostic radiologist with Radiology Associates of Appleton, admits that three-dimensional (3D) mammograms take a lot more time to read, “But they save a lot of time, anxiety, and additional testing down the road.”

Statistics show that 3D mammograms result in a 40 percent reduction in follow-up imaging and a 40 percent improved cancer detection rate compared with traditional 2D mammography. ThedaCare began offering 3D mammograms earlier this year, and women and their doctors immediately began seeing benefits — literally. “Just today I was reviewing a case with a surgeon. We saw something on a woman’s 3D mammogram that we wouldn’t have caught on a traditional 2D image. Our images are so much more detailed,” said Dr. Sung.

The 3D mammography method captures images of multiple one millimeter slices of a woman’s breast all at different angles. The images are put together to create a clear and complete image, enabling the radiologist to review the assembly of images one thin slice at a time, almost like turning pages in a book. This method makes it easier for doctors to see if there are any areas of concern and helps avoid false positives.

Interested in getting a 3D mammogram at your next appointment? Here’s what you should know:

3D mammograms are offered at both ThedaCare Breast Care areas inside Encircle Health in Appleton and at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.

3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography. Mammogram technicians take the pictures at the same time as a woman’s regular mammogram and on the same system and equipment.

The new screening and diagnostic tool is approved for all women who have a standard mammogram.

The radiation dose for a 3D mammogram is well within the FDA safety standards for mammography.

A woman can choose to add 3D imaging to her regular mammogram appointment based on her personal experience or the recommendation of her doctor.

3D mammograms are particularly helpful to women with a personal or family history of breast cancer or other cancers.

The 3D method is particularly helpful to women who have, or have been told, they have dense breast tissue. Nearly 40 percent of women do have dense breast tissue, and it is one of the biggest reasons that mammograms fail to detect existing breast cancer.

A primary care provider or obstetrician/gynecologist can schedule a mammogram for you. Or, because mammograms don’t require a referral, patients can call central scheduling: Encircle Health at 920.738.6521 or ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah at 920.729.3363.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves more than 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose and 34 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke, and cardiac programs and a foundation dedicated to community service. Construction of ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton opened in February. For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, media may contact Megan Mulholland, APR, ([email protected]), media and public relations for ThedaCare, at (920) 830-5847, or call the switchboard at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah at (920) 729-3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.