Contrast-Enhanced Mammography

An alternative to breast MRI for high-risk women

Your risk for breast cancer should be determined in consultation with your doctor to determine your eligibility for additional screening tests.

Austin Breast Imaging now offers contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM), a highly accurate and more patient-friendly screening option for high-risk women and breast cancer survivors. CEM has been shown to shorten the time between diagnosis and treatment for women with breast cancer, as well as lower the overall cost of treatment.

Contrast Enhanced Mammography

Why is a Contrast-Enhanced Mammogram needed?

The availability and cost of a traditional MRI is a barrier for many women who would benefit but it is not always covered by insurance. What’s more, many women find the examination uncomfortable and may feel anxious or claustrophobic during the 45-60 minutes they must remain still inside the MRI scanner. In addition, breast MRI often requires a separate trip to a different facility. In surveys of patient satisfaction, patients prefer CEM to breast MRI.

At ABI, all your breast diagnostic needs are performed at one location, at the same time.

CEM offers comparable sensitivity to breast MRI in detecting cancer1 and higher specificity,2 as well as fewer false positives.3 The exam time is short (8-10 minutes versus 45-60 for MRI) and costs are similar to a diagnostic mammogram.

CEM is performed with the same iodine-based contrast agent used in traditional computed tomography (CT) scans and it is an ideal alternative to MRI for women who are anxious, claustrophobic, obese or have implanted metal devices. In addition, doctors find the test beneficial because it allows them to directly compare CEM images to your prior mammographic examinations. This can help you avoid the need for further work-up or an unnecessary breast biopsy.


  1. Contrast-Enhanced Mammography: Current Applications and Future Directions; Kimeya F. Ghaderi et al. RadioGraphics Vol 39, No. 7
  2. Contrast-Enhance Mammography: Successful Clinical Experience. Hologic case review. Appl Radiol. December 15, 2015
  3. Stephanie A. Lee-Felker, MD et al. Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer: Comparison of Contrast-enhanced Spectral Mammography and Breast MR Imaging in the Evaluation of Extent of Disease. Radiology: Volume 285: Number 2—November 2017 Pages:389–400.
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