The procedure is non-invasive and enables physicians to evaluate the stiffness of a particular tissue. A tumor or cancerous growth is often five to 28 times stiffer than normal soft tissue; therefore, when elastography is applied to the tissue, the tumor deforms less than the surrounding tissue.
Elastography has the potential to change the way in which breast cancer is detected, particularly in younger women. Women under the age of 50 often have significantly denser breast tissue, and the tissue appears to be the same color as other soft tissue on mammograms. This makes distinguishing a tumor a breast tumor difficult. In addition, tumors in younger patients tend to grow at a faster rate than those in elderly patients because their cells divide more rapidly.
Philips Healthcare is one of the first companies to offer elastography technology with ultrasound. This technology has the potential to not only lower the number of unnecessary biopsies, which are invasive and often uncomfortable for patients, but also increase the quality of detection.
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