Mammography Accessories Guide
Welcome to this blog post where we talk about mammography accessories.
In this mammography accessories guide, we go over the components of mammogram machines, as well as the core accessories available for these systems. For example, we talk about the mammography tube, the compression paddles, and the detector.
However, for the mammography accessories, we dive a little deeper into detail. This includes a discussion about printers and mammo workstations, along with features such as tomosynthesis and stereotactic.
This means that by the time you finish reading, you will feel much clearer on what the main parts of a mammography machine are. And also on what accessories are available for mammo. This enables you to make the best future purchase for your clinical needs.
So, let’s get started.
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Mammography Equipment Components
There are many components to the mammography machine and you might be familiar with all of them.
But, instead of jumping directly into a talk about mammography accessories, we want to quickly explain each built-in machine component.
Mammography X-ray Tube
First, let us talk about the mammography X-ray tube.
In every mammography machine you will find a mammography tube. The mammography tube is one of the most important parts of a mammography system, as this is one of the components that ensures that you can produce an image. This is because of the X-rays or signals that are emitted from the tube.
The electrical energy needed by the mammography tube is produced by a generator. This generator is thus responsible for delivering and regulating the energy input in the tube. Actually, the power output from the generator is a deciding factor for the image quality and exposure time during a scan.
To continue, we have the mammography detector which acts as a receiver of the X-ray beams, or the signal.
This means that the X-rays radiate from the mammography tube – through the breast which is compressed between the compression paddles located between the tube and detector – and down into the detector which captures the beams.
From this, it is apparent that the mammography detector is another highly important component in the mammography system.
When the mammography X-rays have been received by the detector, the signal is reconstructed and transformed into an image called a mammogram. This all happens with relatively low radiation exposure.
For analog systems, the X-ray beams are captured on film cassettes, whereas the digital systems capture the X-rays on a digital mammography detector. The analog film can be viewed on a viewing board or be turned into a digital image by the help of a CR reader. The digital image however, can be viewed immediately on high-resolution monitors.
Today it is less common to use analog systems as the digital machines can offer many more beneficial features.
Of course, there are more practical components such as handles and foot pedals that help you in your day-to-day work. But, the console is more interesting to discuss here.
The console is the place from where the system is operated. Also, you can do a quick assessment of the quality of the images that are produced. It is common for consoles to come with 3mp monitors.
This concludes the brief overview of the components of a mammography machine. But, with all mammos, you have the option to get several accessories as well.
Some of the most common mammography accessories you can get for your mammography system are workstations, printers, and features such as tomosynthesis and stereotactic.
The mammography workstation is a computer that is used to do image analysis, also referred to as post-processing. The norm is to have two computer screens of 5mp each to reach 50 micron resolution per pixel as this allows incredible image quality.
At LBN Medical we mostly acquire used GE mammo workstations (ADW), however, we also offer new solutions from Medicom. This means that you can get the best software tools for image analysis. For an added economic benefit, you can choose whether you want new or used hardware for the workstation – i.e., whether you for example want new or used screens.
Another highly valuable accessory is the printer. At LBN Medical we acquire printers from all manufactures, but we ensure that they live up to the 50 microns as this lets you produce high resolution images and allows you to see even the most stubborn microcalcifications within the body.
If we were to recommend a specific printer however, it would be the Fuji Drypix 7000.
2D Mammography vs. Tomosynthesis (3D)
Is Tomosynthesis a necessary feature in mammo machines?
As mentioned, a common add-on is tomosynthesis. This feature has various pros and cons that you should be aware of before committing to a Tomo system.
The main thing to be aware of is that tomosynthesis systems are manufactured so that they can help overcome most challenges of the conventional mammography machines. This feature is especially beneficial due to its ability to scan multiple layers of the breast.
However, an increase in the amount of images produced also means an increase in radiation exposure. But, of course, keep in mind that the exposure will always be within the recommended safety limits.
If you wish to read more about this, you can explore our blog post Pros and Cons of Tomosynthesis Mammography Systems.
Another feature that mammo systems can provide is stereotactic. A biopsy kit connected to the mammo machine. Know that most mammography systems come without this add-on, so when purchasing a mammography machine it is thus important to decide beforehand whether you need this function or not. If you get a machine without it, but later on realize that you need it, having it added onto the system will be costly.
What is so special about stereotactic mammography?
It makes it incredibly easy to acquire samples of any tissue changes that are identified during the mammogram examination.
The image from the mammogram is the reference point for the needle when doing the biopsy, and makes it easier for the radiologist to more precisely detect and remove the tissue that needs to be tested.
An alternative to stereotactic mammography, is to use ultrasound guided biopsy. Here, you’ll need a biopsy gun for the extraction of tissue samples. This is a very commonly used method for doing biopsies. If you wish to get a clearer reference point for your needle during biopsy, you can use a machine that uses tomosynthesis.
If you don’t want to use a mammography with stereotactic, maybe you’d like to look into ultrasounds as an alternative. You can take a look at our in stock ultrasound systems and find out which one best fits your needs.
Let’s just sum up a few of the main points from this blog.
What are the main mammography equipment components?
There are many mammography machine components, but the main components are the mammography tube, detector and generator. The tube which is powered by the generator sends signals to the detector. The signals are then reconstructed into the image we call a mammogram.
What are the main mammography accessories?
There are a few main mammography accessories. First, the mammography workstation used for post-processing images. We recommend the GE mammo workstations (ADW) from Medicom. Second, we have printers – we recommend the Fuji Drypix 7000. Third, is the add-on tomosynthesis, which has both pros and cons. And lastly, there is the mammography stereotactic biopsy add-on.
Is tomosynthesis necessary?
Tomosynthesis is a common add-on. It is very beneficial as it enables you to scan multiple layers of the patient’s breast, but because of the system’s ability to produce many images, it exposes the patient to higher levels of radiation. However, the radiation levels will never exceed the recommended safety limits.
What is stereotactic mammography?
Stereotactic is a biopsy kit which is built into the mammography machine. It makes it easier to acquire tissue samples from areas where the mammogram detected any changes. The alternative to stereotactic is ultrasound-guided biopsy.
We’ve reached the end of this mammography accessories guide.
We hope that you’ve gained some new knowledge about mammography parts and how the mammography system can be upgraded by adding certain mammography accessories to it.
If you want to learn more about mammos, we suggest you read our Guide to Mammography Systems or check out the Mammography Machine Prices.
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