BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville, Ark. announced Wednesday, Jan. 19 it is now offering three-dimensional mammography in its imaging department.

According to a press release, 3D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, helps detect breast cancer in its earliest stages by producing a 3D view of breast tissue, which radiologists can review.

When radiologists receive the images, the new computer then converts them into a stack of thin layers so the patient’s tissue can be reviewed one layer at a time, the release said.

“What I like about this new technology is that it helps our doctors identify and characterize individual breast structures without tissue overlapping, which can happen in two-dimensional exams,” said Northwest Health Market Imaging Director Tyra Bowen. “This overlapping tissue is a reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal.”

NMC-B Radiology Manager Angela Brackin noted that 3D mammography is also a great option for women with dense breast tissue and can reduce the number of women asked to return to the hospital for additional testing.

“Compression time is just 15 seconds and it offers a low-dose radiation exposure,” Brackin said. “What makes the 3D option stand out is that we’ll now be able to have access to more detailed images resulting in better detection of breast cancers.”

According to the release, breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of female cancer death. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

For American College of Radiology recommendations, visit www.acr.org.

3D mammography is not indicated for all patients. To request an appointment, click here.