Feature | Breast Imaging | April 23, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr

Vendor Strategies Provide Glimpse of Women’s Health Future

Products at Breast Imaging Symposium Reflect Emphasis on Productivity

GE Healthcare showcases Senographe Pristina with its add-on-biopsy kit at the breast imaging symposium

GE Healthcare showcases Senographe Pristina with its add-on-biopsy kit at the breast imaging symposium in Hollywood, Florida. Photo by Greg Freiherr

GE Healthcare showcases Senographe Pristina with its add-on-biopsy kit at the breast imaging symposium

GE Healthcare showcases Senographe Pristina with its add-on-biopsy kit at the breast imaging symposium.

Signs of what the future may look like in women’s health dotted the exhibit floor of the Society for Breast Imaging (SBI)/American College of Radiology (ACR) Breast Imaging Symposium in Hollywood, Fla. Notable was an emphasis on productivity.

“We can be more productive and not lose anything (of diagnostic value),” said Pam Cumming, senior director of product marketing for women's health at Siemens Healthineers USA, about use of the company’s wide-angle tomosynthesis technology for screening.

Ernie Liu, Siemens product marketing specialist for women's health, described the potential gains in both productivity and accuracy. Using this technology, Liu said, translates into faster interpretations and more confident diagnoses.

“They (physicians) see much more clearly — without dense tissue overlapping,” Liu said.

Siemens exclusively offers 3-D imaging for use in screening, he said: “The significance of that is physician productivity.”


Factoring In Breast Cancer Risks

GE Healthcare recognizes and addresses risk factors associated with breast cancer, said Agnes Berzsenyi, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Women’s Health. The company has developed its product portfolio accordingly and in ways that promote efficiency.

“We provide a whole suite of breast solutions ranging from (mammography) screening and automated breast ultrasound for dense breast screening to contrast-enhanced spectral mammography all the way to intervention, which is the biopsy,” Berzsenyi said.

At the SBI symposium, GE Healthcare showcased its Senographe Pristina Serena, a variation of the Senographe Pristina 3-D mammography system. This variation is distinguished by an add-on biopsy kit, which can “transform a Pristina screening room into an interventional suite in just two minutes,” Berzsenyi said.

The biopsy is performed while the breast is compressed, explained Kathleen Schindler, GE Healthcare global clinical mammography product leader. “We want radiologists to have confidence that they in fact did (sample the suspicious area of the breast),” Schindler said. “So all the features of making the patient comfortable and very easy to position on Pristina apply exactly to the biopsy.”

Additionally, the commercially available system allows biopsies from the side of the breast, which allows samples to be extracted regardless of breast size, Berzsenyi noted. “This (also) is not only helping to give more working space but the patient can look away, which can also reduce anxiety,” she said.

The entire exam, including biopsy, can be done within 15 minutes, according to Berzsenyi.

At the symposium, Fujifilm Medical Systems USA showcased three new products. Two are typically bundled together as options on the Aspire Cristalle: S-View, which synthesizes a 2-D image from data obtained during digital breast tomosynthesis; and a reconstruction process, called iterative super-resolution reconstruction (ISR), which generates images “at a finer resolution than the readout data,” according to a company statement.

“ISR helps reduce noise (and enhances detail),” said Susan Crennan, Fujifilm product manager for women's health, who noted that the reconstruction process is used in the company’s S-View. These gains do not compromise the speed of image acquisition, she said.

The third option that Fujifilm showcased, an option called Tomosynthesis Spot, uses tomo data to precisely visualize a specific area of concern. This capability, according to Crennan, exactly fits into physician workflow.


How Communication Affects Productivity

Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas highlighted features of its Exa Mammo, a PACS designed for breast imaging centers.  Two features — namely, Exa Chat and Exa Peer Review (both of which the company expects to make available later this year) — were developed to help improve communications among providers. Emily Lafella, director of women’s healthcare enterprise imaging HCIT at Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas, highlighted two core features of Exa Mammo — its zero-footprint viewer and server-side rendering.

“We are doing everything we can to provide everyone in the breast imaging facility access to everything they need,” Lafella said, “whether that be a screening mammogram; or maybe they’re coming back for a biopsy; or maybe they have been diagnosed with cancer.

Seeing pathologies clearly — and quickly — is the underpinning of Barco Healthcare’s Coronis Uniti, whose screen has a 33.6-inch diagonal and resolution of 4,200 by 2,800. The size and luminance of the monitor, showcased at the symposium, help differentiate it from competitors, according to Albert Xthona, strategic product manager of the Barco Healthcare Division.

“It lets you see the smallest detail quickly,” said Xthona. “The high luminance combined with the high resolution definitely (provides) high image quality.”

Because of this, the monitor is routinely sold for a variety of radiological purposes, he said.

Xthona echoed the theme of productivity heard elsewhere on the symposium exhibit floor: “It (Coronis Uniti) is enabling people to do more work in the same amount of time.”


Greg Freiherr is a contributing editor to Imaging Technology News (ITN). Over the past three decades, Freiherr has served as business and technology editor for publications in medical imaging, as well as consulted for vendors, professional organizations, academia, and financial institutions.


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