1Comprehensive Regional Medical Service, Saitama Medical School, 2Department of Clinical Pathology, Saitama Medical Center, Saitama Medical School, 3Research Laboratory, Aloka Company Limited
breast tumor, three-dimensional ultrasonography, volume mode imaging
We previously reported on the usefulness of three-dimensional ultrasonography in diagnosing breast tumors due to its ability to depict the entire tumor. This system was impractical in the clinic, however, because its image-rendering procedure required more than 30 minutes, and the examination could not be repeated. Nonetheless, the need for real-time observation in threedimensions was obvious. Now, a new method for three-dimensional imaging of breast tumors is available. This system is based on the volume mode imaging technology used in obstetrics and adds two of its features from the start of scanning: (1) reverse-intensity processing, which detects hypoechoic breast tumors, and (2) depth-cueing, which visualizes tumor images more realistically while brightening images of organs closer to the observer and darkening images of organs farther from the observer. As a result, cysts, fibroadenomas, or other benign tumors, which have smooth surfaces, can be distinguished from the lesions of breast cancer, the surfaces of which are rough. Its ability to produce these images in near real time should justify the use of three-dimensional volume mode ultrasonography in the diagnosis of breast tumors.