Gadolinium, a heavy metal, is injected intravenously as a contrast agent to help see breast cancer on MRI examinations. Most of the gadolinium is cleared by the kidneys. There are data showing that small amounts of gadolinium can accumulate in parts of the brain, especially after multiple MRI examinations. The importance of this finding is unknown and has not been linked to any known negative health effects in patients with normal kidney function. There appears to be more gadolinium retained by the body with certain types of contrast agents (so-called “linear” compounds) than with those that are more like a cage around the gadolinium (so-called “macrocyclic” compounds). When kidney function is less than normal, the dose of contrast used may be reduced. Gadolinium contrast should not be used in a patient who is pregnant or who may be pregnant. The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the benefit of all approved gadolinium-based contrast agents far outweighs any hypothetical risks. Experts on our Medical Advisory Board agree, and we continue to recommend annual contrast-enhanced MRI for women at high risk. For further information, please see: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm589213.htm.Browse All Provider FAQ's
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