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Atlas of breast cancer early detection

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Breast imaging – Breast ultrasound – Ultrasound lexicon – Breast masses – Orientation


Determination of the orientation of a mass is unique to ultrasound imaging. It is defined as either parallel or not parallel.


Not parallel

Benign breast masses are commonly oriented with their long axis parallel to the breast skin. A non-parallel orientation suggests a high likelihood of malignancy. Infection with necrosis and abscess formation tracking to the skin also appear in non-parallel orientation. Breast trauma shows changes specific to the site of injury and extent of tissue changes; these also do not follow the normal anatomical planes and appear in non-parallel orientation. The orientation alone does not confirm the diagnosis but it does contribute to the diagnostic characteristics. Other features of the lesion seen on ultrasound need to be considered before a final diagnosis is made.


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