ACR Appropriateness Criteria ® Breast Pain

Expert Panel on Breast Imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Breast pain is a common complaint. However, in the absence any accompanying suspicious clinical finding (eg, lump or nipple discharge), the association with malignancy is very low (0%-3.0%). When malignancy-related, breast pain tends to be focal (less than one quadrant) and persistent. Pain that is clinically insignificant (nonfocal [greater than one quadrant], diffuse, or cyclical) requires no imaging beyond what is recommended for screening. In cases of pain that is clinically significant (focal and noncyclical), imaging with mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), and ultrasound are appropriate, depending on the patient's age. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S276-S282
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • AUC
  • Appropriate Use Criteria
  • Appropriateness Criteria
  • Breast pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Digital breast tomosynthesis
  • Mammography
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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