Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Stereo Mammograms

The other day, our local paper had a story about a new and improved, up and coming technique for imaging the breast. See, the way they do it now, a mammogram, is two-dimensional. And the breast, of course, is three-dimensional. Yes, in spite of all their efforts to squash it into one less dimension, it remains stubbornly round. Well, once it recovers from the mammo, that is.

This new technique involves taking two mammograms, from two slightly different angles, so as to create a stereoscope of the breast. The result is two pictures, slightly off kilter from each other. The radiologist, in order to read the two mammograms as one round image, will don a pair of those weird stereo glasses like from the 60's. I kid you not. Remember those things? Or the plastic binocular-shaped gismo that you'd pop a round slide card into and look through, to ooh and ahh at the 3-dimensional image inside.

I had to laugh. And, at the same time, shake my head. Why on earth didn't someone think of this sooner? We had higher technology for our toys 40 years ago than we do for our breasts today. What is wrong with this picture?

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