Aim. To assess the role of breast US in diagnosing and classifying gynecomastia as the primary imaging modality and to compare US findings and classification system with the mammographic ones.
Patients and methods. 48 patients suspected of having gynecomastia underwent mammography and US. Two radiologists in consensus retrospectively evaluated mammograms and sonograms. Both US and mammographic images were evaluated categorizing gynecomastia into non-mass, nodular and flame shaped patterns. The two category assignations were compared in order to find any difference. The reference standard for both the classification systems was represented by the cytological examination in 18 out of 44 cases (41%) and the six-month US follow-up in the remaining cases.
Results. The US examination revealed pseudo-gynecomastia in 4/48 (8%) and true gynecomastia in the remaining 44 (92%). Gynecomastia was bilateral in 25/44 cases (57%) and unilateral in the remaining 19 (43%). The cases of true gynecomastia included non mass shape in 26/44 cases (59%), nodular shape in 12 (27%) and flame shape in 6 (14%). The mammographic examination revealed the same results as compared with US findings. 18/44 (41%) patients affected by nodular or dendritic gynecomastia underwent cytological examination confirming the presence of glandular tissue and the benign nature of the clinical condition.
Conclusions. US could be proposed as the primary imaging tool for diagnosing and classifying gynecomastia, avoiding unnecessary Xray examinations or invasive procedures in case of diffuse gynecomastia.
In case of nodular or dendritic patterns, biopsy remains mandatory for a definitive diagnosis.