Why Is Color Increasingly Important for Breast Imaging?


The answer: for the best diagnosis.

Reading mammography images has always required the highest resolution and brightest grayscale. Workflow today – and in the future – requires viewing  mammography images and supporting modalities such as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, Breast MRI and Breast Ultrasound together for the best diagnosis.  Many radiologists will order supplementary imaging exams to see additional detail and get a more holistic view of a patient’s condition, as noted in the graphic below.

That’s where breast MRI and breast ultrasound come in, particularly for women with dense breast tissue.  It’s harder to see early cancers in dense breasts. On a mammogram, dense breast tissue appears as a solid white area, which makes it difficult to detect abnormalities. Statistics2 show that:

  • 40% of women age 40 and over have dense breasts.
  • Cancer is 4-6 times more likely in women with extremely dense breasts than in women with fatty breasts.
  • Though mammograms find some cancers not seen on other screening tests, in dense breasts, mammograms will miss more than 50% of the cancers present.

Breast ultrasound is generally used as a follow-up test once a potential breast tumor has been discovered through a mammogram or a physical exam, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).  Ultrasound is useful for looking at some breast changes, such as those that can be felt but not seen on a mammogram or changes in women with dense breast tissue. It also can be used to look at a change that may have been seen on a mammogram. 3

The advantage of breast MRI is that it is extremely sensitive, which means that it can detect both cancerous and non-cancerous (benign) lesions.  A breast MRI is mainly used for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, to help measure the size of the cancer, look for other tumors in the breast, and to check for tumors in the opposite breast. For certain women at high family risk for breast cancer, a screening MRI is recommended along with a yearly mammogram. 4

Breast ultrasound and breast MRI images both have color; hence the importance of color imaging and why the consistency of color images matters.  Color high-resolution diagnostic display systems enable workflows that coordinate ancillary modalities with mammography and need to deliver superior color technology, large screen size, high resolution, high brightness and speed.

Consistent color technology is critical for breast ultrasound and MRI. But color is also needed for viewing color-annotated images, including color CAD marks. And for the most effective workflow it is best to bring these color images together in the same field of view with 2D mammography and 3D digital breast tomosynthesis images. Just like the DICOM GSDF standard ensures consistent grayscales across displays, color images need additional monitoring, correction and calibration too in order to render them in a meaningful way. That’s why Barco developed its SteadyColor™ technology.  It ensures consistency in color, from display to display, so radiologists can make a diagnosis based on reliable images.

High resolution displays with the right format are needed to view mammography images at full size to fit the different gantry manufacturer’s acquisition images. These large displays also enable the presentation of many breast MRI images in small viewports while keeping them sharp and clear.

A MRI study has many sequences:  before contrast, then tracking contrast uptake and washout.  When visualizing many sequences, they can be linked to scroll simultaneously then viewed quickly with the aid of RapidFrameTM technology.  RapidFrame counteracts blur or ghosting by speeding pixel refresh when scrolling through a stack of image slices. Images are displayed sharper and faster so the radiologist can make the most effective diagnosis.

Barco’s breast imaging solutions Coronis Uniti® and Nio Color 5MP deliver on these requirements with:

  • Large format Color Displays for the best image layout, letting radiologists see all MRI sequences including CAD together on the same screens
  • SteadyGrayTM and SteadyColorTM calibration technology meeting the DICOM standard for grayscales and guaranteeing consistent, perceptually linear color to deliver greater clinician confidence
  • Easy comparison: view multi-modality images on the same display (i.e., Ultrasound color images with 2D mammograms)

Coronis Uniti has additional functionality:

  • RapidFrameTM technology to scroll and cine DBT, ultrasound or MRI images smoothly without compromising quality, ensuring crisp and in-focus moving images
  • Uninterrupted Field of Vision for a single, bezel-free screen to display the maximum amount of information that can be optimally read by the radiologist
  • Multimodality breast imaging: Coronis Uniti is the only diagnostic display designed for 2D mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis , breast MRI, and breast US

Superior sensor technology combined with MediCal QAWeb provides automated calibration and Quality Assurance, making sure every image is displayed to perfection. With Barco’s MediCal QAWeb, compliance with MQSA and QA guidelines is effortless.

If you are attending RSNA this month, book a meeting or demo in advance to view Mammography Plus on Barco Monitors at Change Healthcare’s Booth 7313 (North Hall) or Barco Booth 1311 (South Hall). We are also offering a special promotion for the best display technology exclusive to Change Healthcare customers.

  1. https://www.barco.com/en/News/Press-releases/Global-study-shows-image-quality-workflow-and-improved-ergonomics-are-key-in-overcoming-todays-radio.aspx
  2. http://densebreast-info.org/
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/breast-ultrasound.html
  4. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/breast-mri-scans.html

One Response to “Why Is Color Increasingly Important for Breast Imaging?”

  1. Greensboro Imaging says:

    Awesome post! Our professionals here at Greensboro Imaging have highlighted the new screening technology used for the 3 Tesla (3T) MRI. You can check out the full blog post here: https://www.greensboroimaging.com/2017/04/26/3t-mri-clearer-faster/

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