News | March 17, 2009

Sixteen Percent Decline in Mammography Procedures from 2000 to 2008

March 16, 2009 – Mammography procedures dropped by 16 percent between 2000 and 2008, according to a report just released by IMV Medical Information Division in a survey of 8,670 hospital and non-hospital sites.
In 2008, doctors in the U.S. performed an estimated 36.7 million x-ray mammography procedures, representing a 2 percent decline from 37.3 million procedures in 2007.
“Compared to 2000, the 36.7 million procedures conducted in 2008 represents a decline of 16 percent from an estimated 43.9 million procedures in 2000, or about a 2 percent decline per year,” said Lorna Young, senior director, Market Research. “This may be partially influenced by a 13 percent reduction in the number of MQSA certified sites in the United States from 9,910 sites as of May 2000 to 8,670 sites as of December 2007.”
Mammography centers have emerged in a variety of settings to improve access for breast care patients, says IMV's 2008 Mammography Center Market Summary Report. In addition to the traditional hospital radiology department, both hospital and non-hospital-based centers have developed a women’s breast center approach, which market and offer a continuum of services addressing breast cancer. Breast care centers appear to have both higher volumes of procedures and higher productivity than the other mammography locations, says the report. They have more FTEs, as well as more productivity in terms of procedures per FTE.
Dedicated breast care centers located in hospitals had a high average of 2,120 procedures per FTE technologist, as did non-hospital breast centers, with an average of 1,900 procedures per technologist. Standalone and hospital-based breast centers also had more mammography units installed than other locations (2.5 compared to the overall average of 1.4), and performed more mammography procedures per unit.
The report describes the variety of mammography center settings, their current use and plans for adopting breast imaging technology, including full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and computed radiography (CR), and profiles other services offered at these locations.
Other highlights of the study include:
As of this 2008 study, 38 percent of the installed mammography units have digital capability (including FFDM and CR) and 62 percent are film-screen units.
Overall, 36 percent of the sites indicate that the typical lead time to schedule a diagnostic mammography appointment is less than a day, 57 percent from one day to one week, and 7 percent from one week to one month. The proportion of sites with a lead time of less than one day has increased from 21 percent in 2005 to the current 36 percent.
Ultrasound is used for breast imaging at nearly three-quarters of the mammography centers. Other imaging modalities, including scintimammography, breast MRI imaging and PET scanning for breast cancer are available at these centers to lesser degrees
Over half of the mammography centers currently use “computer-aided detection” (CAD) software systems to improve the diagnostic confidence of x-ray mammography.
Ultrasound-guided biopsies are performed by 44 percent the sites, while stereotactic biopsies are performed at 25 percent and MRI-guided biopsies are performed at 19 percent of the mammography sites.
Other women’s health care services profiled include: “bone mineral densitometry studies,” “outpatient surgicalprocedures (such as lumpectomy)” “cholesterol screening,” and risk assessment tools for breast cancer.

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