Adjunctive diagnostic value of ultrasonography evaluation in patients with suspected ductal breast disease

Radiol Med. 2007 Apr;112(3):354-65. doi: 10.1007/s11547-007-0146-4. Epub 2007 Apr 20.
[Article in En, Italian]


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the adjunctive diagnostic value of breast ultrasonography (US) in the study of benign ductal breast disease.

Materials and methods: Fifty-two patients underwent US examinations for bloody nipple discharge, palpable retroareolar masses, retroareolar opacities or ductal pattern on mammography. US enabled visualisation of mammary-duct ectasia (simple or pseudocystic, retroareolar and/or peripheral) and focal masses (endoluminal or periductal, with ill-defined or regular margins). All patients with nipple discharge underwent cytological evaluation. After the US examination, all focal masses with ill-defined margins underwent fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), if necessary. The benign alterations were followed up.

Results: In 38/52 cases, US diagnosed mammary-duct ectasia and in 30/52 cases, the presence of focal masses (mean size 7 mm). In the nine women who underwent biopsy, histopathological evaluation diagnosed five solitary papillomas, one solitary papilloma with a focal area of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), two multiple papillomas of the nipple and one papillomatosis.

Conclusions: High-frequency US plays an important role in the detection of benign ductal disease both for the diagnosis and classification of focal masses and mammary-duct ectasia. US can be used as a complementary imaging method to galactography or as a valuable alternative when galactography is not available.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Exudates and Transudates / cytology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipples / metabolism
  • Papilloma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Papilloma / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography, Mammary*