Digital and screen-film mammography: Comparison of image acquisition and interpretation times

Eric A. Berns, R. Edward Hendrick, Mariana Solari, Lora Barke, Denise Reddy, Judith Wolfman, Lewis Segal, Patricia DeLeon, Stefanie Benjamin, Laura Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The objective of our study was to compare acquisition times and interpretation times of screening examinations using screen-film mammography and soft-copy digital mammography. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Technologist study acquisition time from examination initiation to release of the screenee was measured for both screen-film and digital mammography (100 cases each) in routine clinical practice. The total interpretation time for screening mammography was also measured for 183 hard-copy screen-film cases and 181 soft-copy digital cases interpreted by a total of seven breast imaging radiologists, four experienced breast imagers, and three breast imaging fellows. RESULTS. Screening mammography acquisition time averaged 21.6 minutes for screenfilm and 14.1 minutes for digital, a highly significant 35% shorter time for digital than screenfilm (p < 10-17). The average number of images per case acquired with digital mammography was higher than that for screen-film mammography (4.23 for screen-film, 4.50 for digital; p = 0.047). The total interpretation time averaged 1.4 minutes for screen-film mammography and 2.3 minutes for digital mammography, a highly significant 57% longer interpretation time for digital (p < 10-11). In addition, technical problems delaying interpretation were encountered in none of the 183 screen-film cases but occurred in nine (5%) of the 181 digital cases. CONCLUSION. Compared with screen-film mammography, the use of digital mammography for screening examinations significantly shortened acquisition time but significantly increased interpretation time. In addition, more technical problems were encountered that delayed the interpretation of digital cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-41
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Breast cancer
  • Digital imaging
  • Digital mammography
  • Mammography
  • Screen-film mammography
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital and screen-film mammography: Comparison of image acquisition and interpretation times'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this