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Getting a mammogram can be scary. But at Ultimate Imaging, women describe their screening appointment as a “spa-like” experience.

It’s all thanks to the latest technology that makes getting a mammogram and ultrasound more comfortable for women in Bermuda.

“Last year our clinic began using the new 3D mammography unit in conjunction with the Invenia ABUS ultrasound for women with dense breast,” said Alaire Godfrey, the managing director of Ultimate Imaging.

Ms Godfrey described the mammography unit as more curved, so that it does not dig into a woman’s body. The compression paddles are more flexible, and women can even do self-compression if they are uncomfortable with the technologist – but most of the time patients want the technologist to perform the screening.

“Our technologists listen to patients and explain the process and compression,” Ms Godfrey said.

“It doesn’t last long, is tolerable and not painful. In fact, the total amount of time the breast is compressed is less than five seconds. The system will even automatically decompress as soon as the scan is complete.”

The latest in technology mammogram – available to women aged 40 and over – takes a 3D image of the breast and determines the patient’s type of breast tissue.

“Statistics show that 40 per cent of women have very dense breast tissue which makes it hard to see if there’s cancer,” explained veteran mammography technologist Sandy McKown.

“The benefit of having the ABUS is that it helps look through dense breast tissue to detect breast cancer earlier than if a woman just had a mammogram. The two pieces of technology work in conjunction for earlier detection when cancer is more curable.”

What is the feedback from women?

“For women who require an ultrasound after the mammogram, the ABUS screening involves a lot less compression,” Ms McKown said.

“Patients lie on their back in a comfortable setting. Some have commented that it’s like being at a spa.”

With five other mammo-technologists on staff, Ultimate Imaging screens 500 women a year. Although there are three other facilities in Bermuda that perform mammograms, this is the only one with the additional ultrasound equipment for women with dense breasts.

Women who discover during the mammogram that they have dense breasts will make an appointment before they leave for the ultrasound. Doctors recommended that women get a mammogram at age 40 as a baseline. The test should be repeated annually. No referral is needed.

“This is latest and greatest,” Ms Godfrey said.

“We constantly strive to be on the leading edge of technology and we’ll continue to do our best to bring FDA-approved technology to the women of Bermuda.”

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