Elastography imaging is a new technique that can be extremely helpful in evaluating breast lesions. Elastography is done at the same time as a handheld breast ultrasound, and it is able to give an extra dimension that provides more information to the doctor about what s/he is looking at. Doctors are using elastography to determine which patients need biopsies and which do not.
For a long time, if a lump was felt in the breast tissue it meant an immediate biopsy. Because the breast tissue is so fibrous, it is often hard to distinguish the feel of a cyst and the feel of a tumor. Thanks to ultrasound elastography, and ultrasound probe can measure the firmness of the underlying tissue. Firm areas tend to be very dense and firm. These areas will look different on elastography because they will not move much, unlike typical breast tissue that is very soft and very compressible. Cancerous tumors will be stiffer than the surrounding tissue of the breast.
Of course, elastography is not going to eliminate the need for biopsies in all women. Doctors will still need to biopsy any area that they are concerned about to remain on the safe side. But elastography is able to save many more women from unnecessary biopsies because of the increased information that is now available to their doctors from ultrasound elastography. Many doctors are now investing in the elastography equipment to help with the early detection of breast cancer, and to eliminate needle biopsy for lesions that are most often benign. Elastography is done as an outpatient procedure and is typically covered by most major insurance companies.
Posted on behalf of Diagnostic Radiology