Renfrew Victoria Hospital mammography services to close for installation of new equipment

August 30, 2022

tomosynthesis mammogram unittomosynthesis mammogram unit 


The mammography machine at RVH is being replaced with a new, state-of-the-art, 3D digital tomosynthesis mammogram unit.

All equipment has an end date and the digital mammography unit purchased with the support of the community in 2011 is at the end of life – meaning parts and repairs are no longer available.

“As technology continues to evolve, RVH is excited to be among the first hospitals in our region to install the improved tomosynthesis technology for mammograms,” noted Julia Boudreau, RVH CEO.

In tomosynthesis, the x-ray machine rotates in an arc to capture multiple images of the tissue from many different angles, which are processed to create a 3D image of the breast. This creates an image with more detail.

Because the image has more detail, it helps detect smaller tumours, and aids in earlier detection of cancer, particularly in women with dense breast tissue – a risk factor for breast cancer, and in whom smaller tumours can be more difficult to detect. Forty percent of Canadian women over the age of 40 have dense breast tissue.

“The new Mammographic unit will have digital breast tomosynthesis, a type of 3-D imaging that improves the quality of the mammogram, increasing accuracy for breast cancer detection and reducing the numbers of false positives. The new unit also will have the capability of biopsy to allow early detection of breast cancer with the best technique possible. Having this biopsy capability closer to home will be a major benefit to the community, and reduces wait times to improve breast cancer outcomes,” said Jean Seely, MDCM, FRCPC, Section Head, Breast Imaging and Professor, University of Ottawa, Regional Breast Imaging Lead for the Ontario Breast Screening Program.

“We are excited to bring the latest imaging technology and software to RVH for our community. The additional biopsy capabilities of the new unit will save patients from travelling to Ottawa for these procedures. Our mammographers were deeply involved in the selection of this machine and believe that it is not only the most technologically advanced, but the most patient-centric option available,” added Lisa Wherry, RVH Medical Imaging Manager.

In addition to the improved exam results, the new machine is more sensitive to patients in order to provide a better experience.

It is designed with a comfortable headrest to steady patients, rounded corners on a thinner image receptor, where the woman places her breasts, and soft armrests in place of handgrips which allow patients to lean comfortably and relax their muscles for better positioning while the images are being taken.

“The design will also improve our technologists’ positioning and workflow and lead to faster, more effective care,” stated Wherry.

RVH’s mammography unit will be closed from August 24 to September 26 for installation of the new equipment.

The cost of the new equipment is not covered by government/ministry funding, however the RVH Foundation is directing proceeds from its current Catch the Ace lottery towards the purchase.

“We are very thankful to the Foundation, and by extension to our community – the retailers who are supporting us by selling tickets, all of the volulnteers who are involved, and each and every person who buys tickets – for helping to ensure that we can continue to offer quality care close to home,” said Boudreau.

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For more information, please contact:
Julia Boudreau, CEO,
Renfrew Victoria Hospital & St. Francis Memorial Hospital
613-432-4851, ext. 260