Earlier this year, Ergoweb reported on ergonomic applications in the design of systems and devices used to better find and remove breast cancer (Applied Anthropometry and the Female Breast, August 28, 2001). A growing trend towards using digital mammography methods has also seen increased ergonomics in design.
A large manufacturer of digital mammography and medical imaging systems has announced final FDA approval of a digital mammography system whose ergonomic design boasts a 50% larger field of view and up to 60% reduction in radiation. The system also allows for accommodation of nearly 20% more patients than earlier film systems. The manufacturers want this to benefit patients by earlier detection of breast cancer, and increased patient peace of mind regarding x-ray dose.
Comfort was also a concern for this manufacturer, as it is for many women. An article published in the December issue of Redbook magazine states that approximately 40 percent of women who should get mammograms skip them largely due to the discomfort of the exam. In an effort to increase the comfort of the exam, user feedback allowed this mammogram manufacturer to make changes to the shape, temperature, and compression distribution of the breast support system.