Why Mark Nipples in Mammography?
How nipple markers help with image quality and image interpretation
As the primary visible landmark on most breasts, the nipple takes on an important role when it comes to screening and diagnostic mammography.
Knowing exact nipple location helps eliminate guesswork when it comes to image assessment and interpretation and, more importantly, helps triangulate the location of abnormalities for additional imaging and further workups.
However, the nipple isn't always identifiable. Every patient's breasts are unique - some women have inverted nipples, some women have nipples that try as you may, will not go into profile. It may be rolled under the breast, it may point to the side.
Nipple location on the image may vary from year to year based on the positioning technique of the individual mammography technologist.
Nipple markers make it easy to communicate and document nipple location on each breast to the interpreting radiologist for accurate year-to-year analysis
The distinctive round pellet on the image:
- Avoids misinterpretation of an inverted or rolled nipple as a retroareolar mass...and vice versa
- Acts as a reliable landmark for nipple to lesion measurements
- Assists in identifying medial or lateral deviation which may be indicative of uncaptured tissue on the image
- Provides visual documentation of inverted nipples or changes in nipple location due to prior surgeries