Ultrasonographic Doppler techniques have improved greatly over the years, allowing more sophisticated evaluation of breast tumor vascularity. Superb microvascular imaging (SMI) and contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) with second-generation contrast agents are two representative up-to-date techniques. SMI is a sensitive Doppler technique that adopts an intelligent filter system to separate low-flow signals from artifacts. With the development of second-generation contrast agents, CEUS has also emerged as a useful Doppler technique for evaluating tumor microcirculation. Both techniques can improve the diagnostic performance of gray-scale ultrasonography by providing vascular information useful not only for the morphologic assessment of microvessels, but also for the quantitative analysis of perfusion. In this review, we explain the imaging principles and previous research underlying these two vascular techniques, and describe our clinical experiences.
Keywords: Breast; Contrast media; Microvessels; Ultrasonography, Doppler.