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GE Plans Suitcase-Size Mammography Unit

September 21, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Obstetric Ultrasound
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“Mammogram in a Suitcase.” That’s the headline from a GE Healthcare media event in New York last week. It’s exciting, if a little premature.

The suitcase-size (make that “large suitcase–size”; it would fit in a car trunk, but good luck cramming it into an airplane’s overhead bin) digital mammography device, called SenoCase, is just a concept. GE’s engineers haven’t yet created even a prototype.

Still, as DOTmed News pointed out, its bargain price (compared with conventional mammography units) and portability would open all sorts of possibilities for mammography in rural areas and developing countries. Said Anne LeGrand, GE vice president and general manager of X-ray:

You could put it in your car. It wouldn’t need a special van.

More significant were GE’s promise to commit $1 billion of its research and development budget through 2020 to fighting cancer and its $100 million “open challenge” (in partnership with venture capital companies) for bringing to market ideas that improve breast cancer diagnosis.

GE hopes to soon sell in the United States a device that’s already available in Europe and Asia and is awaiting FDA approval. It offers contrast-enhanced mammography, which better illuminates cancer-feeding blood vessels and might be most helpful for women with dense breasts. LeGrand said the device would most likely be sold as an add-on to existing mammography machines.

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Update: Earlier this month, we told you about the Florida couple who sued because ultrasounds failed to reveal the fact that their unborn child had no arms and one leg. They said they would have aborted the fetus had they known, and they sought $9 million for the lifetime care of the boy, now 2 years old.

The verdict: The Palm Beach Post reported that the jury found an obstetrician 85 percent responsible and an ultrasound technician 15 percent responsible for negligently failing to properly read the sonograms. The jury directed that the obstetrician and two clinics pay $4.5 million. A lawyer for the doctor and clinics said they would appeal.

Related seminar: Breast & Women’s Imaging Seminar

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