Posts Tagged ‘mammograms’

Dangers of lidocaine gel, other skin numbing agents: Is lidocaine really safe for mammograms?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

A while back, I blogged about a study that suggested over-the-counter lidocaine gel decreases the discomfort of a mammogram. (The gel numbs the skin after you rub it on.)

Recently, the FDA issued an alert reminding us that, although there were no serious side effects in the study, this same lidocaine gel and similar numbing agents can cause life-threatening side effects if you absorb too much through the skin.  Rarely, it has caused heart irregularities, seizures, breathing problems, coma and death.

A lot to risk for the minimal benefit found in the study, don’t you think?  In small amounts it appears to be safe, but the FDA recommends:


MRI detected Christina Applegate’s breast cancer. Her diligence may have saved her life.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Christina Applegate, age 36, is a role model for women regarding breast cancer detection. Although details are not available, she apparently caught it at an early stage. Therefore her prospects of full recovery are good. She probably had the lump removed and may have a few rounds of chemotherapy. If not detected early, the prognosis would have be much more dire.

So how did she find it so early? Was it just good luck, or did her regular checkups pay off? From early news reports it was the latter. Here is why I believe that.


Lidocaine gel helps discomfort, pain from mammograms

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Over-the-counter lidocaine gel, a topical anesthetic (numbs up your skin) applied to the breasts and chest about an hour before a mammogram reduce discomfort and pain, according to a study published online at Radiology.

Some women won’t get a mammogram due to this discomfort. The breast has to be somewhat compressed in order for the test to be effective. This study showed that lidocaine gel be worth a try.


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