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Seven years had passed since Vernese Butler’s last mammogram, but she reset that timer when she became one of the first patients to experience Grandview Medical Center’s new three-dimensional (3D) mammography technology.
Giving the patient control
It wasn’t fear or anxiety that kept her from the routine test for so long, but rather the discomfort she remembered from her last mammogram.
“The pressure from the machine itself would leave me sore. The older machine left pressure marks on my body,” Vernese said.
She was much more comfortable this time around with the digital mammography machine. Part of that comfort came from the use of a Pristina Dueta device, which allows the patient to control the amount of pressure applied by the machine.
The necessary pressure is applied for the radiologist to see the breast, but the patient can choose additional compression to her comfort level. This gives the patient more control of the exam, which might lower her anxiety level. Studies even show most women will apply more pressure than the technologist would when she is able to do it herself.
“I didn’t feel as much pressure with the new mammogram machine versus the machines in the past. The positioning of the body up against the machine to get the necessary pictures was more relaxing and comfortable,” Vernese said.
Adding to Vernese’s comfort was her mammography technologist, who made sure Vernese had the best experience possible and explained the new technology to her before proceeding.
“A lot of people are leery of those machines, but the lab technician herself made me feel comfortable, so that was wonderful,” Vernese said. “My experience at Grandview was wonderful.”
A more relaxing environment
Vernese also got to experience SensorySuite, which she said was comfortable with a good ambiance. SensorySuite consists of a fragrance machine, monitors that show scenic images, and ambient sounds that match the monitors.
SensorySuite is designed to stimulate sight, scent, and sound during the exam to provide a relaxing environment for the patient and reduce anxiety.
“SensorySuite was very nice. It was spacious, accommodating, and well lit,” she said.
A promise to follow up
The new technology and hospitality were enough to sell Vernese—she pledged to get her mammograms regularly from now on. “I won’t feel any apprehension when my next mammogram is due,” Vernese said. “I will feel comfortable getting my next mammogram. I won’t feel stressed—I will continue to follow up.”