People working in the healthcare field hope to provide better care to the patient population by delivering better outcomes, offering a better experience, and potentially to help save a life. Whether working in ED, the surgical suite, or even in mammography – that overarching goal is the same.
If we focus on the mammography suite, the technologist’s role is to get the most breast tissue possible on the image while offering the patient the best experience so she will come back routinely for her screening exams.
The radiologist’s role is to review the images and determine whether the patient has an area of concern that will require further investigation. If the result of that additional work-up is a malignancy then the patient may be referred to both surgical and oncologic specialists for their treatment and hopefully a positive outcome.
Breast cancer and mammography:
However, it all starts with the technologist and her proficiency as a mammographer. Her checklist is extensive - if she doesn’t get enough breast tissue, has overlapping tissue, if there is inadequate compression or there is motion artifact, the image is compromised and a cancer may go undetected
Let's focus on acquiring the most breast tissue possible on an image. Since the radiologist cannot diagnose a breast cancer if it is not on the image let’s focus on the importance of capturing the maximum amount of tissue on every image.
Unlike a wrist or foot x-ray where each view is positioned the same way, a mammographer has many patient specific variables. These include the overall body habitus that can include physical limitations as well as breast density, the breast size, orientation of the pec muscle, as well as inframmary fold considerations.
Because of these factors, positioning the breast is not always easy. We wrote in a previous article that one tool that may help technologists acquire more breast tissue is Bella Blankets protective coverlets for mammography.
This is possible because of the grip that Bella Blankets provides. This gripping action helps to keep the breast up and out in the MLO and it helps to keep the breast from slipping out the back in the CC.
As a followup, we asked imaging centers using Bella Blankets to share how Bella Blankets has helped them to acquire more breast tissue:
Customers Share their experience with Bella Blankets and tissue acquisition:
- “We have verified on multiple patients when we were implementing the use of Bella Blankets that we were acquiring more tissue. If you don't get the tissue on the image, you can miss a cancer. We like that Bella Blankets give us the ability to get more breast tissue, as well as not having the breast directly on the detector plate.” We had a very small breasted patient imaged, and without the Bella Blanket I am certain we would have not gotten as much tissue.” ~Radiology Director, Windsor, VT
- “With confidence I know that I am getting the maximum amount of breast tissue, not only for the ACR, but with every day use. Beekley sent me Bella Blankets to evaluate. Ten veterans used the blankets and every one of them liked them. That is when the radiologist and I realized their value. The veterans liked them and we were getting more breast tissue on every study. ~Mammography Technologist, St. Louis, MO
- “(Bella Blankets is the) Radiologist preference, she knows the difference in tissue acquisition if we do not use Bella. When one of the technologists didn't use the Bella Blankets, the patient was asking for it due to the fact that the platform was cold. The technologist had used it last time and the patient noticed a difference right away. We had run out and that's why this patient didn't get one.” ~Radiology Manager, Sterling, CO
- “Without using Bella Blankets, patients tend to naturally pull away from machine due to the cold surface of the bucky. Bella’s make it much more comfortable on the skin and therefore we can get more posterior breast tissue easier, especially to get the pectoralis muscle on CC's.”~Mammography Supervisor, Torrington, CT
- “We are able to acquire more breast tissue and get further back on the cc views. Most of our patients are older and their skin is very delicate. Bella Blankets help to keep from skin tears. We are able to acquire more breast tissue and we get further back on the cc views and the IMF much easier now.”~Manager of Imaging Services, Vandalia, IL
What's your experience?
Contact your Beekley Medical Account Manager to learn more about how Bella Blankets can assist with acquiring more breast tissue, immobilizing the breast, ease of positioning, preventing skin tears, providing an extra level of protection, and can help increase patient satisfaction.
If you're already a Bella Blankets customer, we would love to hear from you - drop us a line or share your own experiences in the comment section below.