This study was aimed at determining the role of high-frequency (7.5 MHz) US combined with cytology in the diagnosis of complex breast nodules (complex cysts--cystic tumors). The study population included 60 patients presenting with complex breast nodules selected on the basis of US patterns among 3,000 cases. All patients were also submitted to US-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Cytology of nipple discharge was always performed when discharge was present (15 cases), mammography was performed in 50 cases and pneumocystography in 10. US allowed the identification of the lesion in all patients and the diagnosis of nature in 73%; with FNAB the figure reached 96.7%. Mammography identified the lesion in 95% of patients, but failed to reveal the complex nature of the nodule. In a small number of cases mammography proved to be a useful complementary tool demonstrating malignant features not recognizable on US images. On the contrary, pneumocystography yielded no further information with respect to US. Diagnostic control was obtained by means of surgery in 30 patients and of clinical-US follow-up in the extant 30 cases. On the basis of their US features the lesions were classified into two groups: I) nodules having a mainly liquid component--i.e., hemorrhagic, septic, multilocular cysts, papillary cystadenoma; II) nodules having a mainly solid component--i.e., solitary intraductal papilloma, intracystic carcinoma, mixed carcinoma, phylloid adenoma, sarcoma. As to the former group, US proved reliable in making a diagnosis in the cases with typical hemorrhagic, septic and multilocular cysts. In the atypical cases, FNAB of the solid component of the nodule was necessary to differentiate irregular clots, thick septa or inflammatory thickening from different conditions. As to the latter group, FNAB of the solid component and/or mammography proved useful in making a diagnosis, even though to this aim US revealed peculiar patterns which were highly suggestive. In our experience, combined US and FNAB are of basic importance in the diagnosis of breast lesions, thus replacing pneumocystography which has been widely employed so far. As regards mammography, its role seems limited to pointing out the peculiar characters of malignancy which could not be demonstrated otherwise.
|Translated title of the contribution||The diagnostic imaging of complex breast nodules|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Sep 1992|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging