Artifacts that mimic breast calcification

Artifacts that mimic breast calcification can arise from a number of external sources of radiopaque material that leave particulate residue on or within the skin. These include:

  • deodorants/antiperspirants, particularly solid applicator products 1
  • powders, such as those containing talc 2,3
  • soap, which may contain radiopaque fillers/additives that are left on the skin after inadequate rinsing, along with hard water containing calcium salts 4
  • tattoos, which contain metallic pigments 5

For these reasons, most practices recommend that patients undergoing mammography do not apply skin products on the day of the study. When the technologist recognizes the artifact, it can be resolved by wiping the axilla and breast down with a wet cloth and repeating the view.

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Article information

rID: 15015
System: Breast
Section: Approach
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Artefactual calcification on mammography
  • Artefactual calcification in breast
  • Artifacts that mimic breast calcification
  • Artifactual calcification on mammography
  • Artifactual calcification in breast

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