At over 10 years old, Guelph General Hospital’s mammogram machine was beginning to show its age. Instead of rushing to replace it, the hospital held off knowing that brand new technology was about to be available. Now, GGH has a new machine with features that place it at the forefront of breast imaging.
“I think the community gains immensely from a machine like this, especially when you consider all the benefits it has,” said Dr. Malek Meshki, Radiologist and head of women’s imaging at GGH.
The new machine has significant advantages over the one it replaced he explained. In particular, the new machine is able to create 3D images of the breast and any abnormality found within. With the increased ability to view smaller lumps or shadows, an earlier diagnosis is possible. It also significantly reduces the number of “false positive” results which is a huge benefit to patients, he said.
3D imaging can also support a better patient experience should a biopsy be necessary. “A biopsy needle can be just a millimeter off and miss getting a sample,” Dr Meshki explains. “3D images help ensure the needle is inserted in the correct location and is moved to the exact depth needed to get a proper sample.”
The content of the needle is immediately analyzed by a new feature on the machine to make sure the needle found its mark. If it missed because the patient moved for example, another biopsy can be immediately retaken. It used to be the sample was sent to the lab for confirmation. If the results showed another biopsy was needed the patient would have to return to the hospital for another scan.
The machine also has some softer features designed to help patients feel less anxious. For example, its lighting can change colour depending on a patient’s preference. Anything to help ease the patient’s tension is most welcome says Karen Landoni, GGH’s long-time Tech Lead in mammography. “Some of the most anxious people coming to the hospital are those coming for a breast scan,” she said. “The more we can get them to relax the better image we can get.”
Funding for the machine valued at around $850,000 came from donors, including those in The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital’s “Circle of Life” group. Each year, Circle of Life members are given a list of three hospital priorities in urgent need of community support. Members then collectively decide which project to support through a voting process.
“Circle of Life members play a critical role in driving and sustaining Guelph General Hospital’s patient care initiatives and innovations into the future,” said Suzanne Bone, CEO of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital.
Every dollar spend on patient care equipment at GGH comes from a caring community donor.