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Imaging classification and BIRADS assessment of cystic breast lesions with pathologic correlates. a 5-year experience in Zaria, North West Nigeria

Sefiya Adebanke Olarinoye-Akorede
Suleiman Lawal
Mohammed Zaria Ibrahim


Background: Breast cysts encompass a variety of pathologies, both benign and malignant. Therefore, classifying cysts into different categories is needful to develop a management algorithm. This study aimed to describe and distinguish between simple, complicated and complex cysts; and compare the final BIRADS assessment with pathologic findings.

Materials and methods: A 5-year retrospective review of our ultrasound database identified two hundred and seventy patients with cystic breast lesions. They were divided into simple, complicated and complex cysts according to ultrasound characteristics based on shape, orientation, margin, wall thickness, internal features (echogenicity, septa, mass) posterior acoustic features, surrounding tissue vascularity. The final BIRADS assessment was correlated with histological findings.

Results: There were two hundred and sixty-six (98.5%) females and four (1.5%) males with a mean age 34.9 ± 11.8 years. The commonest presentation was a palpable mass, in 70% of the patients. There were 89 (33.0%) simple cysts, 61 (22.6%) complicated cysts and 120 (44.4%) complex cysts.

Conclusion: Majority of the breast cysts (83%) were benign with overall 17% incidence of malignancy. Complex cysts were the most frequent cyst type in our study, it is also the category most frequently associated with breast cancer, obviating the need for histology.

Keywords: Breasts; Cysts; BIRADS; ultrasound; pathology.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905