COMMENTARY

How to Make Screening Mammography Less Uncomfortable


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This is the Medscape Medical Minute. I'm Dr. George Lundberg.

Many women experience significant discomfort during mammography, and some postpone testing because of it. Four authors in Idaho performed a prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of 418 women ages 32-89 who expected breast discomfort during mammography. They report in the journal Radiology in 2008 on the effects of premedication with 3 substances, including satisfaction with technologist and machine combinations.[1] Discomfort was significantly reduced, and satisfaction was enhanced by the application -- 30-60 minutes before mammography -- of 4% lidocaine gel to the breasts and surrounding skin, in contrast to ineffective premedication with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The authors postulate that this reduced discomfort may improve compliance for future mammographic testing. Makes sense to me.

This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence.[2] I'm Dr. George Lundberg.


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