Ultrasound technology may reduce breast biopsies

eSie Touch Elasticity Imaging, a new method in ultrasound, demonstrated by Siemens Medical Solutions in March at the European Congress of Radiology, is an adjunct to regular breast ultrasound examinations, and may provide a clinically relevant differentiation of benign and malignant tissue. Several studies have shown promising results, and suggest the method could reduce the number of unnecessary breast biopsies.

Photo: Ultrasound technology may reduce breast biopsies

The software for this diagnostic advance is offered with the 5.0 release of the Acuson Antares ultrasound system, premium edition.
Clinicians use the application to generate an elastogram, which provides additional information about mechanical properties, e.g. the stiffness of breast lesions. Siemens reports that the method offers a significant improvement in the acquisition of the data – in most cases, the heart beat and the breathing of the patient will provide a sufficient movement to generate the elastogram.
In one published study, 80 patients with a total of 123 suspicious lesions were examined. Using elasticity measurements from the eSie Touch Elasticity Imaging application, 18 lesions were classified as malignant, which was confirmed in 17 cases by a needle-guided biopsy. Of the 105 lesions predicted as benign, all were biopsy-proven benign. ‘Elasticity imaging has a high specificity,’ said the head of this study, Richard G. Barr, professor for radiology at the North-eastern Ohio University College of Medicine and Radiology at the Southwoods X-Ray and MRI, Ohio, USA. Prof. Barr hopes that the use of elasticity imaging will help to reduce the number of breast biopsies for many patients. The results of the Barr study are presently being validated in comprehensive studies in Europe and elsewhere in the United States. 
Elasticity imaging illustrates the relative stiffness of tissue compared with its surroundings. As tissue undergoes pathologic changes, its relative stiffness will change. The stiffness of the tissue as well as its size compared to the B-mode image provides further insight into potential pathology.
eSie Touch Elasticity Imaging has been available on the Acuson Antares 5.0 ultrasound system premium edition since March this year.


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