The UCLA Department of Radiology has opened a new Women’s Imaging Center near the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center for women seeking mammograms and other diagnostic imaging procedures.

The new imaging center, at 1260 15th St., suite 111, in Santa Monica, is an expansion of current imaging services offered by UCLA near the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital campus. The existing Women’s Imaging Center on 16th Street will close once the new center is operational.

The 5,200-square-foot facility features the latest imaging technology, including a 3-T MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) unit providing the highest resolution images available today, within a private setting dedicated exclusively to women during regular business hours, hospital officials said.

“Our goal was to create a relaxed, tranquil environment for women while they are undergoing screening, diagnostic and other imaging procedures,” said Dr. Nanette DeBruhl, the center’s director. “When women visit our center, we think they’ll say, ‘mission accomplished’.”

In addition to all-digital mammography, the center will perform ultrasound studies, image-guided biopsies, MRI studies and cardiac imaging.

The facility will be staffed by radiologists who specialize in breast imaging, mammography technologists, ultrasound technicians and support staff.

Dr. Cheryce Poon, who works alongside DeBruhl as the center’s co-director, reminds women about the importance of early detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms, which detect up to 85 percent of breast cancers in women without symptoms.

“Mammography remains the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer,” she explains. “All women 40 or older should get a yearly mammogram, in accordance with American Cancer Society guidelines.”

Additionally, Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women ages 20 to 39 undergo clinical breast examination at least once every three years, and all women should be familiar with their breasts and immediately report changes to their physician.

Women at high risk for breast cancer due to a family history or other factors should have an annual MRI and mammogram, and women at moderate risk should talk with their doctor about adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram, according to Cancer Society guidelines.

UCLA Radiology operates a second facility designed specifically for women’s imaging, the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging at UCLA/Westwood. Both the Santa Monica and Westwood facilities combine the latest technology with physician expertise to ensure the highest quality screening, diagnosis and treatment, hospital officials say.

Information about the new Santa Monica-UCLA Women’s Imaging Center or to schedule an appointment at either location, (310) 301-6800.