Ipswich NHS Trust recently purchased two Philips Microdose L30 full-field digital mammography systems. One system has been installed in a mobile trailer and the second one in a re-locatable screening room. The re-locatable screening room replaced a permanently sited mobile unit. Both systems replaced analogue x-ray equipment.
The decision to go for the re-locatable option rather than purchase a second mobile was taken on the grounds of cost and site availability. The cost of a second fully mobile unit could not be justified and the land on which the old mobile was sited was unavailable in the future. With no space free in the hospital building, the most practical and cost-effective solution was a purpose-built re-locatable screening room in the hospital grounds. The new location is close to the previously sited mobile so would not inconvenience women who were used to travelling locally for their screening and it also has a ramp access making wheelchair accessibility easy.
The Philips equipment was selected for a number of reasons. Together with the excellent image quality achieved, the Trust liked the fact that the MicroDose L30 is not temperature-dependent and as such needs no generator on board the mobile to protect the detector. Also, mammographers find it easy-to-use; due to its superior ergonomic design the stress on the user is minimised with the whole procedure taking less than five minutes, including image acquisition. A speed and convenience also appreciated by the patients. In addition, the unique curved breast support ensures easier positioning while the warm surface and slim profile helps patients relax and ensures optimum positioning. Another feature appreciated by users of the system is the flexibility offered by the option of a footswitch for X-ray exposure.
Commenting on the new equipment Judith Berrill, Superintendent Radiographer said, “There has been a very positive response to the equipment and one lady even wrote to the local paper about her experience. In addition, one of our radiologists has commented on the improvement in image quality and technique.”
With the new systems, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust is now able to implement age extension, as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme. In addition to gradually introducing screening for women from 47, it also requires that all imaging becomes fully digital. At present, women are invited to be screened between the ages of 50 and 70.
The Philips MicroDose L30 is based on photon-counting technology, providing high quality images at significantly lower levels of radiation compared to any other commercially available full-field digital mammography (FFDM) systems. Since X-rays are digital by nature and the Philips detector counts them one by one, a direct capture of individual X-rays occurs. This means no electronic noise in the image and no information loss in analogue to digital conversion, as is the case in other FFDM technologies. Efficient scatter rejection and photon counting technology results in a dose-efficient system, that allow for low radiation dose imaging while maintaining exceptional image quality. MicroDose helps improve clinical confidence by facilitating detection at a low radiation dose.
There are no ‘ghost images’ that could interfere with image interpretation since the detector is fast enough to be ready when the next photon arrives. The image is acquired by a multi-slit scanning technology that eliminates the scattered radiation and significantly reduces the noise level in the image. The multi-slit scanning technology ensures that images are totally reliable, with no dead pixels that could obscure micro-calcifications. In addition, MicroDose’s SmartAECTM continuously adjusts radiation exposure depending on the density of the breast.