J Korean Radiol Soc.  2006 Sep;55(3):299-304. 10.3348/jkrs.2006.55.3.299.

The Clinical Significance of Normal Mammograms and Normal Sonograms in Patients with Palpable Abnormalities of the Breast

  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Korea. jhrad@dau.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Korea.
  • 3Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Korea.
  • 4Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Korea.
  • 5Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.


We wanted to evaluate the clinical significance of normal mammograms and normal sonograms in patients with palpable abnormalities of the breast.
From Apr 2003 to Feb 2005, 107 patients with 113 palpable abnormalities who had combined normal sonographic and normal mammographic findings were retrospectively studied. The evaluated parameters included age of the patients, the clinical referrals, the distribution of the locations of the palpable abnormalities, whether there was a past surgical history, the mammographic densities and the sonographic echo patterns (purely hyperechoic fibrous tissue, mixed fibroglandular breast tissue, predominantly isoechoic glandular tissue and isoechoic subcutaneous fat tissue) at the sites of clinical concern, whether there was a change in imaging and/or the physical examination results at follow-up, and whether there were biopsy results. This study period was chosen to allow a follow-up period of at least 12 months.
The patients' ages ranged from 22 to 66 years (mean age: 48.8 years) and 62 (58%) of the 107 patients were between 41 and 50 years old (58%). The most common location of the palpable abnormalities was the upper outer portion of the breast (45%) and most of the mammographic densities were dense patterns (BI-RADS Type 3 or 4: 91%). Our cases showed similar distribution for all the types of sonographic echo patterns. 23 patients underwent biopsy; all the biopsy specimens were benign. For the 84 patients with 90 palpable abnormalities who were followed, there was no interval development of breast cancer in the areas of clinical concern.
Our results suggest that we can follow up and prevent unnecessary biopsies in women with palpable abnormalities when both the mammography and ultrasonography show normal tissue, but this study was limited by its small sample size. Therefore, a larger study will be needed to better define the negative predictive value of combined normal sonographic and mammographic findings.


Breast US; Breast radiography, comparative studies ; Breast, abnormalities; Biopsies

MeSH Terms

Breast Neoplasms
Follow-Up Studies
Middle Aged
Physical Examination
Referral and Consultation
Retrospective Studies
Sample Size
Subcutaneous Fat
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