Over the years, dramatic technologic advances in mammography equipment have allowed breast imaging facilities to greatly enhance breast cancer screening. With the introduction of full-field digital mammography and the increased emphasis on preventive medicine nationwide, screening mammography has grown tremendously in need over the last 3 decades. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Due to the high prevalence of breast cancer in women and the success of screening mammography, the data support routine annual screening mammograms starting at the age of 40 for patients with average risk. In order to produce high-quality mammographic images, mammographers must ascertain ways to protect themselves from injury as they perform their daily job functions. One of the most critical and difficult aspects of mammography is positioning the patient properly. If the breast is not positioned correctly, large volumes of breast tissue may not be imaged, thus missing breast cancers. The added skill of ergonomically correct mammography positioning will help ensure a long-lasting career with minimal joint stress and work-related injuries. The following article discusses the basics of ergonomics, recent research on its application to mammography, and the technical challenges involved. Mammographers are also provided with methods for preventing work-related injuries.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Define ergonomics and its role in the healthcare field.
- Discuss recent research on the ergonomics of mammography and the effects on mammographers.
- Describe technical challenges.
- Evaluate ways mammographers can prevent work-related injuries.