What are the characteristics of normal breast tissue on breast ultrasonography?

Updated: Jan 24, 2017
  • Author: Durre Sabih, MBBS, MSc, FRCP(Edin); Chief Editor: Mahan Mathur, MD  more...
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The breast parenchyma can appear thin and membranelike in old age or thick and almost isoechoic during lactation. The breast in a young woman who has never been pregnant demonstrates great variation in echogenicity and pattern that ranges from a homogenously echogenic to a diffusely heterogeneous almost striped appearance due to ducts and periductal hypoechoic tissue. The parenchyma may also show focal thickening, which may occasionally cause a palpable abnormality.

Other age-related changes include ductal ectasia, which can be completely asymptomatic or be associated with nipple discharge. The fluid in ectatic ducts can be clear, have low-level echoes, or dependent debris. A solid component is highly suspicious for intraductal papilloma or cancer.

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