Advantages of Digital Mammography Speed and the Ability to Manipulate the Digital Image A digital mammogram differs from a film mammogram in that it uses a special detector to capture and convert x-ray energy into a digital image. The procedure and appearance of the machine and even the images produced are very similar to a traditional film mammogram—the advantage really comes from the ability to manipulate the image electronically. Digital mammography offers a number of practical advantages and patient conveniences: Because there's no waiting for film to be developed, digital images are immediately available. The technologist can evaluate the quality of the images as they're taken. That means patients spend less time in the exam room and rarely need to return for repeat images due to under or over exposures. The digital machine is fast, so patients spend less time in uncomfortable positions. Brightness, darkness, or contrast can be adjusted and sections of an image can be magnified after the mammogram is complete making it easier to see subtle differences between tissues. The ability to increase contrast when imaging dense tissue is particularly important, as dense breast tissue and malignant cells both appear to be white on a film mammogram. Digital images are easily stored and retrieved. Transmission of images from one physician to another is quick and easy. Digital technology provides a platform for new technologies, such as CAD software, dedicated to advancing the early detection of breast cancer.