Breast imaging and the technologist
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Breast screening and diagnostic programmes cannot exist without the technologists. They play an indispensable role in the acquisition of mammogram and ultrasound images in both screening and diagnostic settings.
The mammogram technologist: the primary responsibility of the "mammo tech" is the acquisition of the mammogram images. This in no shape or form is their only function. They need to have very essential and sympathetic people skills due to the nature of the exam and the emotive results of an abnormal finding. The program stands and falls with the mammo tech. They supply high quality images repetitively on a daily basis and often under trying circumstances. They are essential in QA and the delivery of high quality images for reading.
The ultrasound technologist: supplies ultrasound images. They need to be able to "read" mammogram images before they image a breast so that they know where a lesion is potentially located and what they are looking for. The radiologist needs to work very closely with this essential member of the breast imaging team. Good communication and collaboration delivers good quality diagnoses without needless duplication and wastage.
The reading radiologist stands and falls by the quality of the product his/her technologists supply. Technologists are an integral and indispensable part of the imaging chain, and probably nowhere more importantly in radiology than in breast imaging. They are also a valuable practical knowledge resource for the novice breast imager.