What anatomic knowledge is needed to perform breast ultrasonography?

Updated: Jan 24, 2017
  • Author: Durre Sabih, MBBS, MSc, FRCP(Edin); Chief Editor: Mahan Mathur, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The breast is a modified sweat gland located between two layers of the superficial pectoral fascia on the anterior thorax, between the second and sixth ribs (see the image below). [9] The 2 layers can sometimes be seen behind the skin echo and in front of the pectoral muscle echoes.

Anatomy of the breast. Anatomy of the breast.

Twelve to 20 ducts exist, and their lobules, along with fat and stroma, make up the parenchyma of the breast. The breast ducts converge at the nipple at one end, and, at the other end, they branch to terminate in lobules. The duct size varies from about 1 mm at the lobules to up to 5-8 mm near the nipple. The lobules are on an average 3 mm in the greatest diameter. The ratio of the parenchyma to the fat varies by the individual and even in the same woman at different ages and during pregnancy and lactation.

Before moving on to breast ultrasound anatomy, understand that the reference tissue in the breast is the fat, and structures are labeled as hypo, iso, or hyperechoic with reference to fat.


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