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Ultrasound Can Help Diagnose Benign Skin Lesions

Study finds that better diagnosis can reduce need for inpatient treatment

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Ultrasound is a useful tool to diagnose benign subcutaneous lesions and could reduce the number of lesions referred to a hospital for treatment, according to a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Yoshihiro Kuwano, M.D., of the University of Tokyo, and colleagues conducted a study of 183 patients with subcutaneous benign lesions. The patients were examined using ultrasound and then had a pathologic diagnosis after surgery.

Palpation of lesions had a diagnostic yield of 29 percent, but the yield for ultrasound was 46 percent, the researchers found. Ultrasound increased the sensitivity of diagnosis of lipomas from 54.8 to 88.1 percent, and also increased the sensitivity of diagnosis for epidermal cysts and ganglions, as well as increasing the specificity for epidermal cyst diagnosis from 93.5 to 99.3 percent, the investigators note.

"These data strongly support the usefulness of ultrasonography for the preoperative diagnosis of subcutaneous benign lesions," the authors write. "Some small subcutaneous benign lesions may be removed in an in-office procedure. However, when the diagnosis is uncertain, patients with very small lesions are typically referred to a hospital for surgery. The improvement of diagnostic ability with ultrasonography may lead to an increase in the number of patients who require only an in-office procedure."

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