What is breast ultrasonography?

Updated: Jan 24, 2017
  • Author: Durre Sabih, MBBS, MSc, FRCP(Edin); Chief Editor: Mahan Mathur, MD  more...
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The first known clinical use of breast ultrasound (US) was reported in 1951 by Wild and Neal, [1] who used A-mode sonography to describe the features of one benign and one malignant breast mass. Several attempts were subsequently made to develop automated or multi-transducer scanners to evaluate the whole breast, both to detect subclinical disease (screening) as well as for lesion characterization. [2]

The 1970s saw a declining interest in breast ultrasound, and, for more than a decade thereafter, ultrasound was relegated to differentiating solid from cystic masses. However, with increasing resolution and quality of US imaging, interest in its use for evaluation of the breast has resurged. [3]

An image depicting the breast structures visible on ultrasound can be seen below.

Diagrammatic representation of breast structures v Diagrammatic representation of breast structures visible on ultrasound.

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