SAN JOSE, Calif., April 21 -- The emergence of digital mammography and the long replacement cycle of current systems in the market are depleting demand for analog mammography in highly industrialized countries, according to a report by market analysis firm Frost & Sullivan.
Although the mandatory equipment specifications put forward by the Mammography Quality Standards Act created demand peaks for analog equipment in 1999 and 2002, hundreds of mammography facilities have shut down in recent years, unable to break even.
"The market for new systems is continuing to shrink despite tighter scheduling, higher facility throughput and the uptake of extra patient volume created by facility closures," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Antonio Garcia.
Most facilities already have fairly new film-screen mammography systems, and with a 7 to 10 year system replacement cycle, the analog market is expected to decline even further, Frost & Sullivan said. When the current generation of systems comes up for replacement in a few years, most end users are likely to opt for digital systems.
Along with improved diagnostic capabilities, digital systems offer considerable economic benefits over analog systems in terms of overall operational costs, according to Frost & Sullivan. While this drives the adoption of digital systems in industrialized countries, the considerably less-expensive analog systems will find better markets in developing countries, the company said.
"The rising demand for full-field digital mammography (FFDM) and computed radiography (CR) mammography is the most dynamic factor maintaining healthy growth rates in the total mammography industry. CR digital mammography has found a niche in Japan, and may find one in the North American market, but flat-panel FFDM is probably the future of the mammography industry," Garcia said.
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