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Can A More Comfortable Mammogram Encourage More Women To Get Examined?

Hologic’s new SmartCurve stabilization system features a curved compression surface that mirrors the shape of a woman’s breast.

Can A More Comfortable Mammogram Encourage More Women To Get Examined?
[Photo: courtesy of Hologic, Inc]

One medical technology company has a simple but novel way to encourage women to get a mammogram exam: Make it less painful.

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Hologic just announced its SmartCurve breast stabilization system, which features a curved compression surface that mirrors the shape of a woman’s breast. It’s compatible with Hologic’s Genius 3D Mammography exam and reportedly does not affect image quality, accuracy, or a technologist’s workflow.

According to a recent Kadence Inc. survey of 10,000 women, discomfort was the leading reason for why women avoid a mammogram. During these exams, patients’ breasts are painfully compressed in order to thin out the tissue. Hologic circumvents this with a curved surface that reduces pinching and does not squish breasts with such intensity.

[Photo: courtesy of Hologic, Inc]
“Comfort during a breast exam is almost entirely driven by how the breast is compressed and how long it’s compressed,” Tracy Accardi, Hologic’s global vice president of research & development, breast health & skeletal imaging, tells Fast Company. “Our time of compression is significantly less than any of our competitors.” She adds that the technology’s proprietary curved surface lets it “enable a better distribution of force over the entire breast.”

This innovation, reports the company, provides a far more pleasant experience: According to their own clinical studies, 93% of women who experienced pain with standard mammography have found the new system “to be more comfortable,” and 95% would recommend it to others.

“That’s a pretty big deal,” says Accardi.

Beyond their test patients, the SmartCurve is also finding support from celebrities. Sheryl Crow, Genius exam spokeswoman, said in a statement: “I’ve already been telling women that the Genius exam is the best option for their annual screening. Now that it’s also a more comfortable exam thanks to the SmartCurve system, I’m urging women everywhere to stop making excuses and ask their doctors about the Genius exam today.”

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There are more than 4,000 Hologic 3D Mammography systems in use in the United States. The SmartCurve breast stabilization system will be available for immediate order at all locations.