Contrast-enhanced mammograms at Western Health

  31 January 2022  Western Health   |   Third party content – view disclaimer

Western Health has been performing contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) for over a year now.

It is almost as sensitive for breast cancer detection as MRI and slightly more specific. It performs better than conventional imaging (2D/3D mammography and ultrasound). CEM has become standard of care for most breast cancer screening (apart from Breast Screen), staging and surveillance.

We use iodinated contrast for CEM, the same agent used for CT scans. Modern contrast agents are extremely safe and allergy is uncommon. Anaphylaxis is very uncommon.  Our radiologists are well trained in recognition and early treatment of anaphylaxis. Adrenaline, the mainstay of early treatment is available in our department and we have emergency resuscitation teams on site 24/7. We record all allergic reactions in the electronic medical records. Patients are given written information about contrast mammography including possibility of an allergic reaction prior to the study and their consent is obtained. We ask that all requests for mammography state +/- contrast, except in those patients who have contraindications including renal impairment (EGFR<30), diabetes, prior allergy, or do not wish to have contrast.

If the request does not state contrast, we will not administer it. You may receive a call occasionally to discuss if you are happy for patients who have been referred for mammography to receive contrast if we believe it would be clinically beneficial.  This is particularly the case for those who have been receiving it over the last few years. Please feel free to contact the breast radiologist on duty for further information on (03) 8345 0112.  

Dr Joseph Paiva and Dr. Susan Kouloyan- Ilic (Breast Radiologists – Sunshine Hospital).

Acknowledgement: Dr. Allison Rose – Head of Breast Imaging – Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Disclaimer: This article was provided by Western Health. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.