Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a newer imaging technique that uses a contrast agent to enhance the visibility of breast tissue. Many women may be concerned about how long the procedure takes and how much time they will need to set aside for the exam. In this article, we will discuss how long a CEM procedure typically takes and what to expect during the procedure.
CEM is similar to a traditional mammogram in that the breast is compressed between two plates while X-rays are taken. However, the addition of the contrast agent makes the procedure slightly longer than a traditional mammogram. The entire CEM procedure typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the facility and the individual patient.
The first step in CEM is to insert an intravenous (IV) line into the patient's arm. The contrast agent is then slowly injected into the bloodstream through the IV line. 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 exact length of the procedure may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the individual patient and the facility performing the exam. Patients should plan on setting aside at least an hour for the procedure and may want to arrange for someone to accompany them to the appointment.
In conclusion, contrast-enhanced mammography typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The procedure involves the injection of a contrast agent into the patient's bloodstream, followed by a mammogram to image the breast tissue. Patients should plan on setting aside at least an hour for the procedure and may want to arrange for someone to accompany them to the appointment.