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Breast tomosynthesis on verge of U.S. approval, but questions linger

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | November 24, 2010

Still, many radiologists are excited. Rochester General Hospital acquired Hologic's digital mammography system about three months ago with hopes of upgrading it to 3-D technology once it's approved in the U.S.

"I have not seen a lot of data on the technique but we've purchased the machine because I thought that going forward it would certainly be a very interesting tool to use in the detection of breast cancer," Backenstoss said.

But as it will likely take radiologists longer to look through the tomosynthesis images, she said it's unclear whether it would be used selectively or across the board on all patients.

Plus, radiologists can only speculate what reimbursement policies are in the cards for the 3-D mammography system. For facilities like Rochester General Hospital, even the cost of an upgrade to the latest technology remains a mystery.

"We were trying to get the information from Hologic and they weren't able to tell us," said Backenstoss.

But before any of that, the FDA still has to give the device its final stamp of approval.

"This is only part one; we're waiting for part two," Backenstoss said.

Hologic did not respond to requests for comments by press time.

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