Communicating Focal Pain in Mammography
The square marker facilitates correlation between patient-reported symptoms and imaging findings
Best practices in mammographic skin marking require consistent use of each distinctly shaped marker to communicate one specific area of concern: the circle to communicate raised moles, the line to communicate scars from previous surgeries, the pellet for indicating nipple location, and the triangle to indicate a palpable lump.
So what do you do when a patient complains of focal pain, or has another non-palpable topographic finding that may image, such as a bug bite or cyst? Reusing any of the shapes above could cause confusion and result in inaccurate interpretation and unnecessary additional imaging.
The square marker clarifies the area marked by the square as different from any other topographic or palpable area of study during image interpretation
- Localizes an area the patient identifies as pain for the interpreting radiologist, and ultrasonagrapher in the event an ultrasound of the area is subsequently ordered
- Instills confidence that the area of focal pain was captured on the image - especially if there is nothing mammographically evident
- Provides permanent visual documentation of the patient complaint on the patient history
- Facilitates faster read time with immediate identification of the area in question