10 sept. 2018

What to consider when buying a mammography display

SANTÉ 4 min de lecture

In digital breast imaging, a medical display is the eyes of the radiologist. It affects every decision you make. To help you understand the benefits of certain specs and tools, we’ll tackle the most critical display factors in a series of blog posts. Today’s topic: display luminance and screen resolution.

1. Acquisition vs display

Before we dive into the world of mammography displays, it is important to understand the ins and outs of medical imaging. To get a digital breast image, you need a machine that actually takes the images. We call these machines acquisition or imaging systems. They come in all shapes and forms and create breast images with a specific resolution. For example, the resolution of a mammogram captured by a GE digital mammography system is 2400 x 3070 pixels. The resolution of a mammogram taken by a Hologic machine, on the other hand, is 3328 x 4096 pixels.

A standard 5 MP display requires 4 steps (clicks) to read the image, a 5.8 MP display requires only 2 steps.

2. More screen, less clicks

It’s clear that the resolution of mammography displays is vital in the correct representation and interpretation of mammograms. A high display resolution brings nothing but benefits. First of all, radiologists can see details much clearer. Secondly, more resolution helps radiologists with their workflow. 

How? In mammography imaging, radiologists should view breast images in full size. If you have more vertical resolution, it is easier to fit the whole breast image on the screen. Take a look at the following image. On a regular mammography display (5 megapixels), you need 4 steps to view every part of the breast image at 1:1. On a mammography display with a slightly higher resolution (e.g. 5.8 megapixels), you only need 2 steps to read the same image.

3. Fusion increases productivity  

Besides screen size and resolution, screen format is another important factor. A so-called Fusion format combines two stand-alone displays into one. This can be helpful for breast radiologists, in terms of reading productivity and ergonomics. With a Fusion display, radiologists can place breast images where they want on the screen. This makes it easier for them to compare multiple images side by side, be it mammograms, breast ultrasounds or breast MRI.

Barco has a series of special mammography displays that support flexible color multimodality imaging. It means 2D, breast tomosynthesis, ultrasound and breast MR images can be laid out anywhere on the screen.

4. Higher brightness, better detection  

Resolution is not the only spec that defines the quality of a mammography display. Luminance is equally important. Multiple studies indicate that luminance impacts detection of small details during breast cancer screening.

Most mammography displays offer a high calibrated luminance of at least 500 candela. In some cases, this is not the maximum brightness the display can achieve. Special tools can help increase display luminance to 1000 candela or higher. Barco’s higher-end mammography displays have an internal luminance booster to increase the brightness of the display.


So what to look for when you buy a new mammography display? First of all, look further than a medical-grade design and resolution or luminance specs. Consider additional tools that can help to further boost display brightness. Also consider the impact of the mammography display on reading ergonomics and workflow. If your reading routine is comfortable and productive, it will benefit both doctor and patient.



2. Weschler, M. (2012). 6MP Displays Offer Speed, Comfort Benefits. Auntminnie, 2012 

3. Kimpe, T. R. & Xthona, A. (2012). Quantification of Detection Probability of Microcalcifications at Increased Display Luminance Levels. Breast Imaging, Springer 7361, 490-497. 2012 

4. Krupinski, E. (2018). Reducing Radiation Dose in Digital Mammography by Increasing Display Luminance. Proceedings of SIIM, 2018