Tattoo sign (mammogram)

Last revised by Mohammadtaghi Niknejad on 17 Dec 2022

The tattoo sign is a feature given to describe dermal calcifications seen on mammography 1. The basis of this sign is that dermal calcifications maintain fixed relationships to one another that are reproducible with similar projections at different times. This is in contrast to intramammary calcifications in which the relationship of the calcifications to one another can change as the tissue is compressed 2

A similar, unnamed sign consists of dermal calcifications that maintain fixed relationships to one another that are reproducible on different projections at the same examination 1.

Dermal calcification has certain characteristics such as lucent centers, polygonal or spherical shape, presence of the tattoo sign, and peripheral location of the calcification. At times, the tattoo sign may be the only finding. 

To prove the dermal location of the calcifications it is useful to obtain a tangential view 5 or perform a tomosynthesis.

See also 

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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