Breast Cancer Detection: Breast Ultrasound & Elastography
Did you know that breast ultrasonography and elastography examinations can help detect breast cancer? The tests are typically used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding, and when done together, can produce reliable results. The ultrasound testing approach is at times safer and more comfortable for the patient than other forms of detection. Here’s why.
What is breast ultrasonography and elastography?
Breast ultrasounds use ultrasound probes - like the Philips L18-5 or L12-5 high-frequency linear probes - to produce a picture of the internal structures of the breast which can then be tested through ultrasound elastography. Breast elastography detects how quickly a substance returns to its original shape and size when deformed by an external source. This is helpful because benign lesions tend to return to their original shape and size quicker than malignant lesions. Some machines that performed breast elastography treatments include the Philips Epiq 5 and the GE Logiq F8. The combination of tests can help reduce false-positive results when testing for breast cancer.
When combined, breast ultrasonography and elastography produced 88.5% sensitivity, 78.6% specificity, and 80.9% accuracy in differentiating a benign from malignant solid breast mass.
Doctors often recommend ultrasound and elastography over mammograms to women with dense breast tissue because mammograms can cause thick glandular tissue to resemble cancerous tumors, making it difficult to see abnormalities. Breast ultrasonography also provides a clearer image near the chest wall and surface of the breast. Enhanced imaging quality ensures lumps that may be overlooked by a mammography are more easily detected using ultrasound.
Time, money, and comfort is improved with a more accurate test.
During a breast ultrasound, there is zero exposure to radiation. Although the radiation in a mammography is low, reducing yearly exposure through breast ultrasonography is a great alternative for women. Particularly for those who are pregnant or have been exposed to radiation in the past.
Breast ultrasound and elastography exams can not only identify a mass but are also able to distinguish between a benign fluid-filled cyst and a cancerous solid mass. Once identified, a cyst aspiration quickly removes the cyst. This prevents future false-positives, eliminates unnecessary tests and results in cost saving and peace of mind for the patient.
Want to add breast ultrasound and elastography to your practice?
Probo Medical sells, repairs, and buys ultrasound equipment and refurbishes it to OEM standards. Click here or call 866-513-8322 to be assisted by our knowledgeable and friendly staff!
About the Author
Brian Gill is Probo Medical’s Vice President of Marketing. He has been in the ultrasound industry since 1999. From sales to service to customer support, he has done everything from circuit board repair and on-site service to networking and PACS, to training clinicians on ultrasound equipment. Through the years, Brian has trained more than 500 clinicians on over 100 different ultrasound machines. Currently, Brian is known as the industry expert in evaluating ultrasounds and training users on all makes and models of ultrasound equipment, this includes consulting with manufacturers with equipment evaluations during all stages of product development.