By Robb Murray
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — To put it crudely, the biggest advantage of the Giotto mammography machine is this: Instead of bringing the breast to the machine, Giotto comes to the breast.
The folks in Mankato Clinic’s radiology department are all smiles these days about the newest additions to their technological arsenal.
One is Giotto, a mammography machine that looks nothing like a traditional machine. It’s defining characteristic is the circular frame that can be twisted, turned, raised or lowered to accommodate anyone in a chair or laying on a bed.
What this means for patients is no more sitting in uncomfortable positions remaining perfectly still for extended periods of time. Giotto also allows doctors to perform biopsies, eliminating the need for a separate machine and separate appointment to do what is normally an additional procedure.
In addition to the Giotto machine, they’ve also got a new Fuji, high resolution imaging machine that allows doctors to view mammography images in the highest-possible resolution.
This gives doctors a much better image to look at and allows them to spot irregularities much sooner, such as pre-cancerous areas known as ductal carcinoma in sutu.
Radiologist Maureen Magut said addition of the machines is an important step for the health of Mankato Clinic patients.
“This is a very big deal,” she said.
The Mankato Clinic is just the second location in the country to have installed a Giotto machine, and the first to have actually used it. It’s been in operation for a few weeks.
Another feature of the Giotto machine is the ability to do biopsies on calcifications so small that previous technology made it nearly impossible to detect much less pull a sample for testing.
Glenda Beeck, a registered technologist in radiology and mammography and manager of the imaging department, said the clinic got in on the Giotto movement early because they were in the right place at the right time.
A salesman who used to work for Kodak and made sales calls to the clinic contacted them to see if they were interested in hearing about his newest client’s latest product. Of course they were.
Magut said that when she and Beeck decided the department needed these two machines, they sat down with the Mankato Clinic CEO and CFO and explained their situation. And that was it. She said that, at a larger health care provider with more bureaucracy, it would have taken much longer to have such a purchase approved.
The amount of time needed for a mammogram visit, Magut said, will be cut in half. They’ll be able to send folks on their way within 15 minutes.