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Volume 6 Supplement 1

Symposium Mammographicum 2004

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The impact of digital stereotactic devices on examination times

One of the perceived benefits of digital stereotactic devices over film-based ones is a reduction in examination time. However, there is a lack of published evidence to demonstrate this. A study was undertaken to compare the duration of examinations by recording the timing of events (including start and end times) during routine use of film-based and digital devices. The median times were compared using the Mann–Whitney U test.

The median times for film-based systems were 35 min for core biopsies (n = 48), 26 min for fine needle aspirations (n = 64) and 22 min for wire localisations (n = 24). The times for digital systems were 25 min for core biopsies (n = 92), 19 min for fine needle aspirations (n = 59) and 15 min for wire localisations (n = 56). Thus digital systems reduced the examination time by approximately 30%, offering a potential increase in patient throughput. The total compression time was reduced by 3–7 min; this may improve patient comfort. The time between applying compression and inserting the first needle was reduced by 4–6 min; this may improve positional accuracy by lessening the chance of patient movement. All differences were statistically significant.

This study demonstrates that digital systems offer a real reduction in examination time.

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Burch, A., Gower-Thomas, K. The impact of digital stereotactic devices on examination times. Breast Cancer Res 6 (Suppl 1), P40 (2004).

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