State-of-the-art 3D machine on the job

A NEW 3D mammography machine will cut down return visits and ensure more accurate breast imaging at Regional Imaging's Launceston clinic.

The state-of-the-art machine - one of two in Tasmania and one of only a handful in the country - has been in use for just over a month at Calvary's St Vincent's Hospital site.

Radiologist Debra Meerkotter said the machine, priced about $500,000, quickly and precisely examined breast tissue in thin slices.

Dr Meerkotter said it then took a series of pictures and reconstructed them into a 3D image.

Her colleague, radiologist Peter Brookfield, said the machine gave patients the lowest radiation dose possible and improved accuracy.

"We used to have to do the 2D images, and then if we thought there was something abnormal we'd call a patient back and do a set of work-up images, which is where you squash the breast more in one spot," he said.

"And then you roll the breast and you do a few views to make yourself either happy that there's nothing there, or content that you've actually found something that's truly an abnormality.

"But with this tomosynthesis (3D mammography), that step is often not needed. So it saves patients return visits and a lot of anxiety."

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