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Digital Mammography vs Film Mammography

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The last decade has proven to be challenging for traditional film mammography.  With the creation of digital mammography in 2000, billions have been spent by healthcare organizations on the conversion to digital.  Although the question has been raised, "Is digital truly superior to film?" Some say, yes, others say, perhaps not. Read on to learn more...

For both digital and film mammography, X-ray is shot through breast tissue in order to obtain images.  The patient's testing experience will be the same.  What differentiates the two is simply the way the images are processed. Traditional mammography records images using film.  Digital mammography stores images using electrical signals and sends them to a computer.

Researchers have proven that digital is superior to film for women under the age of 50 and for women with dense breasts.  However, studies have also shown that there is a tendency toward film over digital for older women and those who do not have dense breasts.

So, Why the Big Push for Digital?

  1. 25% less radiation to the patient
  2. Ease of storing, sharing and manipulating electronic images
  3. 50% more reimbursement on average with digital

Sounds pretty great, huh? One factor to consider though is that although your healthcare organization receives a significantly higher amount of reimbursement for a digital procedure, it is possible that you will only be marginally more profitable after the conversion because of the overall costs on overhead and maintenance.

Significant Differences in Cost

The purchase cost differentials between the two are enormous.  Film mammography, such as Lorad MIV and GE Senographe DMR Plus, will cost you between $25,000 - $35,000 turnkey on the secondary market while Digital mammography options such as GE 2000D, DS or Essential and Hologic Selenia will sell anywhere from $140,000 - $275,000.

If you are looking to dip your toes in the mammography world, film mammography could be a great place to start.  Looking to jump right in or make an upgrade to digital?  The time has never been better and the options are limitless.  The digital ship has certainly sailed… and a lot of people are on board. Either way, we are here to assist with all your mammography equipment needs!

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