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.