Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a newer imaging technique that uses a contrast agent to enhance the visibility of breast tissue. While any medical procedure carries some risks, CEM is generally considered a safe procedure when performed by trained healthcare professionals. In this article, we will discuss the safety of CEM.
CEM uses a contrast agent that is injected into the patient's bloodstream before the mammogram is taken. The contrast agent helps to highlight areas of abnormal blood flow in the breast tissue, making it easier to detect cancerous growths. The contrast agent used in CEM is typically iodine-based and is similar to the contrast agent used in other medical imaging procedures, such as CT scans.
One of the main concerns with the use of contrast agents is the risk of an allergic reaction. While allergic reactions to the contrast agent are rare, they can occur. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe and may include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Patients who are allergic to iodine should inform their healthcare provider before undergoing CEM.
Another potential risk of CEM is the exposure to radiation. Like traditional mammography, CEM uses low-dose X-rays to create images of the breast tissue. The amount of radiation exposure from CEM is similar to that of a traditional mammogram and is considered safe for most patients. However, women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should inform their healthcare provider before undergoing CEM, as radiation exposure can be harmful to developing fetuses.
While CEM is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure. Patients may experience mild discomfort at the injection site or from the compression of the breast tissue during the mammogram. Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids after the procedure to help flush the contrast agent out of their system.
In conclusion, CEM is a safe procedure when performed by trained healthcare professionals. While there are potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure, they are generally mild and uncommon. Patients who are allergic to iodine or who may be pregnant should inform their healthcare provider before undergoing CEM. If you have concerns about the safety of CEM, speak to your healthcare provider, who can discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you.