Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a newer imaging technique that uses a contrast agent to enhance the visibility of breast tissue. The contrast agent used in CEM is typically an iodine-based solution that is injected into the patient's bloodstream before the mammogram is taken. In this article, we will discuss how the contrast agent is administered during CEM.
The first step in CEM is to insert an intravenous (IV) line into the patient's arm. The IV line is used to administer the contrast agent into the bloodstream. The healthcare provider will first clean the injection site with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection.
Once the IV line is inserted, the contrast agent is slowly injected into the patient's bloodstream. The injection usually takes a few seconds to a minute and may cause a mild sensation of warmth or a metallic taste in the mouth. This is a normal reaction to the contrast agent and typically subsides quickly.
After the contrast agent is injected, the patient will be asked to wait for a few minutes before the mammogram is taken. This allows the contrast agent to circulate through the bloodstream and reach the breast tissue, enhancing the visibility of any areas of abnormal blood flow.
During the mammogram, the patient's breast will be compressed between two plates while X-rays are taken. The compression helps to spread out the breast tissue, making it easier to detect any abnormalities. The mammogram typically takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.
After the mammogram is taken, the patient may be asked to wait for a few more minutes while the healthcare provider reviews the images. In some cases, additional images may be taken to get a better view of any areas of concern. It is important to note that the contrast agent used in CEM is excreted from the body through the kidneys and may affect kidney function in patients with pre-existing kidney problems. Patients with kidney problems should inform their healthcare provider before undergoing CEM.
In conclusion, contrast agent is administered during CEM through an IV line inserted into the patient's arm. The contrast agent is injected slowly into the bloodstream, and the patient is asked to wait for a few minutes before the mammogram is taken. The contrast agent helps to enhance the visibility of breast tissue and make it easier to detect any areas of abnormal blood flow. If you have concerns about the administration of contrast agent during CEM, speak to your healthcare provider, who can discuss the procedure with you in more detail.