Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a newer imaging technique that uses a contrast agent to enhance the visibility of breast tissue. While CEM is generally considered safe and effective, many women may be concerned about whether the procedure is painful. In this article, we will discuss whether CEM is painful and what to expect during the procedure.
During CEM, a contrast agent is injected into the patient's bloodstream through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into their arm. The injection of the contrast agent may cause a mild sensation of warmth or a metallic taste in the mouth, but it is typically not painful. 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. During the mammogram, the patient's breast will be compressed between two plates while X-rays are taken. The compression may cause some discomfort or mild pain, but it is typically well-tolerated. 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 experience some mild discomfort at the injection site or from the compression of the breast tissue. This discomfort typically subsides quickly and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications if necessary.
It is important to note that some women may experience more discomfort during CEM than others. Factors such as breast size, density, and sensitivity can affect the level of discomfort experienced during the procedure. Women who are particularly sensitive or who experience significant pain during CEM should inform their healthcare provider, who can discuss pain management options with them.
In conclusion, while CEM may cause some mild discomfort or pain, it is generally well-tolerated by most women. The injection of the contrast agent may cause a mild sensation of warmth or a metallic taste in the mouth, but it typically subsides quickly. The compression of the breast tissue during the mammogram may cause some discomfort, but it is usually well-tolerated. Women who experience significant pain during CEM should inform their healthcare provider, who can discuss pain management options with them.