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Ultrasound for Problem Solving in Breast Imaging

As an adjunct to mammography, diagnostic ultrasound is extremely valuable in demonstrating palpable masses not seen at the time of mammography or masses that can not be optimally evaluated by mammography. These situations commonly occur in the dense breast or augmented breast or with peripherally located lesions. Although it is uncommon, some cancers may be detected only with ultrasound. Ultrasound is also indispensable in the characterization of non-palpable masses seen on mammography. It can determine whether the mass is cystic or solid. Ultrasound can further characterize the mass whether it is more likely benign or cancerous in correlation with mammography, and minimize the number of women subjected to surgical biopsy. Sonographic characteristics of benign and malignant lesions is well established recently. In addition, ultrasound is used to guide accurately for cyst aspiration or needle biopsy. At times pre-op wire localization can be performed only with ultrasound. Ultrasound is often the initial study instead of mammography in patients under 30 years with a palpable lesion who are not at increased risk of breast cancer.

Bon C. Koo, M.D.
Drs. Hill & Thomas Co.

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