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PB.19: Investigation of a novel method for breast discomfort reduction during mammography


The purpose was to determine the effectiveness of a silicon cushion in providing pain relief during mammography when used to cover sharp edges on the image receptor and/or compression paddle. The impact of the silicon pad(s) on image quality and radiation dose was assessed.


The transparent silicon pad was randomly assigned to the right/left breast of the patient; the other breast was imaged as normal. The pad(s) was strategically placed on the mammography machine using three methods. Pain experience data were collected at three discrete time-points during mammography using a visual analogue and Likert scales. Radiologist image evaluators were blinded to pad assignment for image quality evaluation. Radiation dose to the breast was compared with the pad and without.


Quantitatively, no significant reduction (P > 0.05) was observed in the pain experienced due to the silicon pad in either mammographic projection. Qualitatively, there was a trend for pain reduction with the silicon pad. No statistically significant degradation in image quality was assessed in either projection except due to the pad design. There were, however, significant increases in the radiation dose (P < 0.00) for both projections due to the slight increase in the compressed breast thickness due to pad thickness.


The silicon breast cushion requires significant design changes before commercial use for pain reduction intervention in mammography. The study did, however, emphasise that the radiographer plays an important role in the women's experience and communication by the radiographer helps in qualitatively reducing the women's experience of pain during the examination.

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O'Leary, D., Al Maskari, Z. PB.19: Investigation of a novel method for breast discomfort reduction during mammography. Breast Cancer Res 15 (Suppl 1), P19 (2013).

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  • Image Quality
  • Radiation Dose
  • Pain Reduction
  • Image Receptor
  • Provide Pain Relief