How Skin Markers Help You
Other Terms for Mammogram MarkersMammogram markers may also be called by other terms, such as:
- Mammography Skin Markers
- Mammography Film Markers
Standard Shapes for Skin Markers
Several different companies make skin markers for mammography. These vary in color and some even sport pretty patterns or floral designs. But when it comes to function, these important radiological markers follow a standard. Different breast features are always marked by a standard system of shapes that communicate a consistent message to the radiologist.
- Nipple: Small pellet
- Mole: Circle
- Scars: Broken line
- Palpable Bumps: Triangle
- Pain or Concern: Square
Importance of Marking NipplesThe nipple on your breast is such a prominent feature that it may seem pointless to mark it for a mammogram. For some women, it isn’t necessary to mark the nipple, but for others, a nipple may roll from an optimal position during compression. Add to that the fact that two views from different angles are taken of the breast, and it starts to make more sense. The nipple is an important point of reference on a mammogram. Think of it like the North Star in the night sky – once you find it, you can easily locate other features. Having a consistent way to see the nipple position makes for a more accurate reading of your mammogram. It can also make it easier to correlate features that appear on mammograms and ultrasound images.
Marking Calcifications for BiopsyIf your mammogram should show a suspicious area of calcifications or micro-calcifications and a stereotactic biopsy is recommended, a skin marker can be marked with a square skin marker. This marker helps identify the area where a biopsy should be taken. This saves time during the biopsy, as the surgeon does not have to hunt for the target area. A quick image will be taken, based on the marker position, to confirm the calcifications, and tissue samples will be taken.
Are These Markers Safe?You may be wondering if having extra stuff stuck to your breast will cause additional exposure to radiation. I have good news for you. Many of these markers do not use lead and do not absorb extra X-rays. The adhesive used is very light – not even as tacky as that used for package tape, so you won’t have to flinch when removing them after your exam. When your mammogram is done, simply peel and toss these disposable skin markers.
How Markers Appear on Your Mammogram
This picture shows a detail from a mammogram that features a mole marker - the light circle - resting on breast skin over muscle and a breast implant.