Kent breast screening service recently updated its screening service with revolutionary Microdose full-field digital mammography systems. The Kent breast screening programme now uses this new technology exclusively throughout the region in all its mobile breast screening trailers. The unique Philips technology is installed on all eight trailers within the region, with images from all the systems being fed into a single breast Imaging PACS solution that supports the three screening services that cover the county.
Three trailers are operated by East Kent breast screening service, two by the Maidstone service and three by Medway breast screening service. All three services have close working links and in the past have shared resources. They undertook a joint evaluation and collaborative procurement to replace their analogue mammography systems. The unique Microdose Mammography systems were chosen for their easy workflow, excellent image quality, low dose and robust detectors.
Kent breast screening service selected to refurbish their existing eight trailers rather than purchase new mobiles. The Philips technology proved its worth as the robustness of the Microdose detector and its excellent tolerance of temperature change meant that the MicroDose systems could be installed on the refurbished trailers without the need for additional thermal insulation in the floor, walls and ceiling. Other benefits appreciated by staff include a specially-designed paddle which assists in the imaging of petite women, and women with implants can also be imaged on the mobile unit. The mammographers report that the new equipment has helped them to improve their imaging techniques due to ease-of-use and ergonomic design such as the curvature of the imaging plate, which enables better positioning. Patients have also commented on the improved comfort during the procedure due to the curved breast support, which also has a warm surface and slim profile that helps patients relax.
At the Medway Breast Screening unit, radiographer Daphne Vandenheever observed that “Staff feel less fatigued at the end of the day using the Philips equipment”, while at Maidstone, radiographers appreciated its user-friendliness and ease-of-use. Ray Nuttall, Superintendent Radiographer says, “We particularly like the fact that the key pad at the console enables automatic movement of the gantry; we also like the curved breast support and the fact that the workflow is simple and the equipment easy to keep clean. The fact that the robust detector isn’t temperature sensitive makes it ideal for working on mobile trailers and the patient radiation dose for an exam is lower than for other products.”
Helen Macdonald, senior mammographer at East Kent Screening Service in Canterbury comments, “The patient experience is improved; contact with the patient is maximised as it is no longer necessary to turn away from the patient to load the processor. For example, the need to change the Bucky to accommodate larger women has been eliminated; in the past this was always an unwelcome sign of difference. It is possible to reassure women concerning dose reduction and improved image quality, and I am proud to be part of a service that is improving and offering such advantages. The ability to see images immediately is a clear benefit and increases job satisfaction for the mammographer.”
In addition the Philips MicroDose Mammography systems need no generator on board and are not temperature-dependent. Other features also contribute to its popularity and suitability for installation in mobile units. It delivers excellent image quality, and its ergonomic design means that together with its ease-of-use, the stress on the user is minimised, with the whole procedure, including image acquisition, taking less than five minutes. The systems deliver high-quality breast images at a significant reduction in dose compared to other Full Field Digital Mammography (FFDM) systems, without compromising image quality. Its unique curved breast support ensures easier positioning, while the warm surface and slim profile helps patients relax and ensure optimum positioning.