Artifacts that mimic breast calcification can arise from a number of sources. These include:
- deodorants on skin: most practices recommend that clients for mammography do not use deodorant or perfume on the day of the study for this reason. The residue from deodorant is a very fine, dense, misty collection of axillary opacities that mimic very fine cutaneous calcifications. Most technologists will wipe the axilla down with a wet cloth and repeat the view. The artifact will be gone. In practice, this very rarely presents a diagnostic dilemma.
- fingerprint artifact on film: in digital imaging, this is not a problem. This used to be an issue in the days of film screen mammography when indifferent handling in the darkroom could lead to a fingerprint on an image. Luckily a fingerprint looks like a fingerprint. Issues did arise when a portion of a print whorl appeared on an image. Luckily you could identify the culprit.