Southwestern Vermont Health Care expands its advanced breast imaging technology

Practice renamed, hours expanded, and roles redefined

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BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Health Care has invested $750,000 in the latest breast imaging technology for its newly renamed Breast Health and Imaging Center, formerly SVMC Women's Imaging. The funds purchased two Hologic Selenia Dimensions 3-D Mammography units. Both provide proven superior clinical performance compared with less recent technology, SVMC said.

"Our aim is to give patients and providers the crucial information they need to make decisions for further care, if needed," said Melissa Spiezio, a registered radiologic technologist and SVMC's director of Imaging Services. "This advanced technology will help us meet that goal for years to come and to do so more efficiently and more comfortably than ever."

SVMC said the new 3D mammography machine takes images at every depth of breast tissue to both improve and ease detection of early breast tumors. It is proven to detect 20 - 60 percent more invasive cancers.

Compared with 2D technology, the new machine may also reduce the need for repeat tests and callbacks by up to 40 percent. This technology is especially important for patients with dense breast tissue, which is more difficult to image, the hospital said.

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"This is a far more powerful device than we have ever used before," Spiezio said. "It is very exciting to leverage this technology and the skills of our experienced and compassionate technologists for the benefit of our patients."

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SVMC Breast Health and Imaging Center has added hours on some evenings and Saturdays, as needed, providing convenient access to those who have difficulty making weekday appointments.

The practice added a breast imaging navigator, Jacqueline Spika, a registered radiologic technologist. She works closely with the oncology nurse navigator Rebecca Hewson-Steller to provide guidance and support for patients' breast health needs.

In addition to the new machines, the center was renovated to make care more welcoming and comfortable for patients, the hospital said.

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In addition to 3D mammography, SVMC Breast Health and Imaging Center also provides breast, thyroid glands, carotid artery, and pelvic ultrasounds. In cooperation with SVMC endocrinologist Amy Freeth, MD and rheumatologist Dr. Matthew Stanishewski, the practice provides Dexa bone densitometry for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and likelihood of bone fracture.

The American College of Radiology recommends beginning screening mammograms at age 40 and continuing annually thereafter. SVMC said its 3D mammography falls within FDA guidelines for radiation exposure.

SVMC Breast Health and Imaging Center is open 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekdays and some evening and Saturday hours. The team welcomes anyone who has a referral from their primary care provider, OB/GYN or certified nurse midwife. Once patients have obtained a referral, they should call 802-447-5541 ext. 2 to schedule.


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