September 11, 2017 — Sigmascreening recently announced that a study of in total 15,898 in digital mammograms from 3,772 Asian women1 underlines the need for compression guidelines. The study confirms a number of other studies indicating that a force-standardized protocol leads to large variations in compression practices. This has serious negative effects on patient experience and the efficacy of mammography. Therefore, pressure-guided mammography with the Sigma Paddle, which is taking breast size into account, may lead to improved test results and less unnecessary discomfort and pain especially for Asian women.
In a mammographic examination, the breast is compressed four times. The importance of this study is that it clarifies that Asian women, who generally have smaller breasts, are subject to force standardized protocols originally intended for Caucasian women. For that reason the researchers retrospectively analyzed the digital mammograms from Asian women. The mean ± standard deviation compression pressure for all mammograms was 17.77±10.51 kPa, which indicates a very unpredictable outcome of the compression procedure in these women.
This study, published in PLOS One, showed that in particular a force-standardized mammographic compression practice led to these widely variable compression parameters with a substantial amount of excessively high pressures without the use of the Sensitive Sigma paddle. These results are in line with compression practice in other Asian countries2.
This study underpins the importance of taking breast size into account and is in accordance with Sigmascreening’s concept of the Sensitive Sigma Paddle, which applies pressure guidance during mammography. The Sensitive Sigma Paddle is the first pressure-based compression paddle providing real-time pressure information of the whole mammographic breast compression course, which can considerably improve compression reproducibility aiming at an evidence-based pressure target; similar for all women.
As a result of this, extremely high or low pressures, as observed in this study, will disappear almost entirely by the use of the Sensitive Sigma paddle, according to Sigmascreening. It optimizes compression for every individual breast, by taking breast size and stiffness into account, for the most optimal screening result while reducing unnecessary and often extreme pain.
For more information: www.sigmascreening.com
1. Lau, S., Y. F. Abdul Aziz and K. H. Ng (2017). "Mammographic compression in Asian women." PLoS One 12(4): e0175781
2. Ng, K. H., M. L. Mill, L. Johnston, R. Highnam and A. Tomal (2017). "Large variation in mammography compression internationally". EPOStm C-2133, ECR 2017.