INTRODUCTION: As an efficient, effective and moderately inexpensive modality, mammography has been implemented as a cancer screening tool and in diagnostic management. However, appropriate breast compression is necessary for optimal outcomes. Current key measures of compression force are subjective and variable, giving rise to the concept of a 'personalised' pressure-standardisation protocol.
METHODS: A scoping review of the literature was performed using the Arksey and O'Malley framework to explore the existing force- and pressure-standardisation protocols in clinical application. A comprehensive search strategy and standardised study selection and evaluation were completed. This synthesis of existing knowledge can lead to the implementation of mechanically standardised mammographic compression pressure as a feasible tailored approach to clinical practice. Four databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase and Scopus) were searched from the databases' inception to 13 December 2019 for relevant information, and eighteen articles were selected for analysis.
RESULTS: In addition to current protocol comparison, emerging key concepts include the reasoning behind standardisation, the benefits of improved diagnostic outcomes/decreased pain with negligible change in image quality and average glandular dose (AGD), and the recommendation of a 10kPa (approximate) pressure-standardisation protocol. Research to date is largely based abroad (Netherlands), with a strong focus on screening practices. Consequently, several gaps in the current literature were identified as potential directions for future investigation.
CONCLUSIONS: As a suggested mammographic guideline, compression pressures of approximately 10kPa aid in image acquisition reproducibility both within and between women; pain levels decrease, with minimal variations to breast thickness, AGD and image quality.