Enhancing Breast Health with Contrast-Enhanced Mammography
March 15, 2023
by Dr. Emilie Ralston
ARA Health Specialists,in Western North Carolina, is proud to offer contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM), a cutting-edge imaging technique that is making waves in the fight against breast cancer.
Understanding Contrast-Enhanced Mammography:
Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a breakthrough mammogram technique that utilizes an intravenous contrast agent to highlight blood vessels and lesions in breast tissue. This advanced imaging method is gaining recognition for its precision and effectiveness in detecting breast cancer.
How CEM Works:
During a CEM exam, the breast is positioned and compressed in the same way as a standard digital mammogram. However, before the CEM imaging, a contrast agent is injected into the patient's arm through an IV line. As the contrast agent circulates through the bloodstream, it collects in the blood vessels of the breast tissue. These images are then carefully analyzed by a specialized radiologist, who can identify areas of concern such as suspicious masses or abnormal blood vessel patterns. Compared to traditional mammography, CEM generates images with enhanced precision, particularly for women with dense breast tissue.
Benefits of CEM:
- Early Detection: CEM is especially effective in detecting small, early-stage breast cancers that may not be visible on traditional mammograms. It offers a higher likelihood of identifying potential abnormalities, allowing for early intervention and improved treatment outcomes.
- Recurrence Detection: After breast cancer treatment, CEM can help identify any signs of recurrence. Its ability to highlight areas of increased blood flow is invaluable in monitoring and managing the disease.
- Dense Breast Tissue: Women with dense breast tissue often face challenges in detecting abnormalities through traditional mammography alone. CEM, with its ability to emphasize areas of increased blood flow, provides greater accuracy in detecting potential cancerous cells in dense breasts.
CEM for Image-Guided Biopsies:
ARA Health is one of the few practices in the country that offers contrast-enhanced mammography for guided biopsies. This cutting-edge approach allows radiologists to visualize suspicious areas with utmost precision and guide the biopsy needle to the exact location, resulting in a more accurate and efficient biopsy process.
Safety and Effectiveness:
Both contrast-enhanced mammography and CEM-guided biopsies are safe procedures with minimal risk of complications. Patients can undergo these advanced techniques with confidence, knowing they are receiving the best possible care.
The Future of Breast Cancer Imaging:
"We believe this technology will become the standard of care in the coming years," says Dr. Ralston, Ambulatory Imaging Director and Breast Imager at ARA Health. At the forefront of this innovation, ARA Health Specialists is proud to offer contrast-enhanced mammography and guided biopsies to their patients, ensuring they receive the most advanced and effective care available.
Contrast-enhanced mammography is a remarkable breakthrough in breast cancer detection, offering enhanced precision and accuracy compared to traditional mammography. ARA Health Specialists' commitment to innovation places them among the leading healthcare practices in the country, providing women in Western North Carolina with access to state-of-the-art imaging technology and guided biopsy procedures. By staying ahead of the curve, ARA Health is delivering the best possible care and improving outcomes for patients. Remember, early detection is key, so be proactive about your breast health and discuss the benefits of contrast-enhanced mammography with your healthcare provider. Stay informed, stay healthy!