CONTRAST ENHANCED SPECTRAL MAMMOGRAPHY
The Sheryl Crow Imaging Center at the Pink Lotus Breast Center launched Contrasted Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM) to North America in March 2012. To the patient, it's a routine mammogram with an IV contrast injection – but to the radiologist, it's a no-guesswork, easy to read exam. CESM subtracts out all of the “mystery” in a mammogram while utilizing blood flow patterns to dim the normal breast tissue, leaving only vascular, cancerous areas in the picture.
CESM technology acquires the spectral data necessary to automatically create two images per view: a standard mammographic image showing tissue density and a contrast-enhanced image in exactly the same position with the background signal subtracted out.
A certain number of women have inconclusive mammograms, often due to dense breast tissue, which appears white on a mammogram – as does cancer, making cancer difficult to detect. Even when combined with ultrasound, some women’s images will remain "inconclusive" with findings on mammogram that cannot be dismissed. This generally requires an MRI to resolve the issue (or a biopsy, when possible).
MRI, however, has many drawbacks: (1) expensive, (2) confines you to a clanging tube for 45 minutes, (3) highlights areas in the breast that need further evaluation but are frequently “nothing” (called false positives), (4) must be timed to the menstrual cycle, causing week-long delays, and (5) does not generate immediate results.
CESM provides us with very similar information to MRI, but can be done within 10 minutes at nearly 1/10 of the cost. Frequently, the same day your mammogram appears abnormal, you leave with answers and a plan.
Thanks to innovative technology like CESM, the Pink Lotus Breast Center is equipped with another tool to ensure the breast health of women, providing peace of mind when you need it most.