Digital imaging improves area health care

 Quality health care has taken another step forward in Union County.

Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County has acquired a new digital mammography machine that produces a much better quality picture than the old x-ray technique.

The machine, which cost $180,000, provides a digital image viewable on high-resolution monitors. The old system produced film that was developed and then viewed on a lighted view box.

According to Dr. Justin Lohmeier, a radiologist, the new technology shows improved contrast resolution:

“The pictures are so much more clear than film and give us as doctors a lot more to look for in the breasts to determine problems a lot earlier than in the past,” he said. “This is especially good for women with dense breasts or women with fibrous tissue that would normally have to go back to the doctor for multiple visits to get a clearer picture.”

Other advantages of the new system include reduced wait time for patients because the images are available immediately and the capacity to electronically transmit to other physicians as well as store them.

James Huffman, administrator and chief executive officer of the hospital, said the new equipment enables the hospital “to provide the top level of care to our for our breast imaging patients. We are proud to be able to provide the Union County area women with advanced screening technology to identify cancers early on when they are most treatable.”

Doctors vary in their recommendations about when women should start getting annual mammograms. Women should check with their personal doctor for his or her recommendation, but it is usually at age 40 or earlier.

Early detection is extremely important with breast cancer and Baptist Memorial’s new digital mammography equipment is a welcome addition to the local health scene.