BACKGROUND: This study researched the electric impedance properties of breast tissue and demonstrated the different characteristic of electrical impedance scanning (EIS) images. METHODS: The impedance character of 40 malignant tumors, 34 benign tumors and some normal breast tissue from 69 patients undergoing breast surgery was examined by EIS in vivo measurement and mammography screening, with a series of frequencies set between 100 Hz - 100 kHz in the ex vivo spectroscopy measurement. RESULTS: Of the 39 patients with 40 malignant tumors, 24 showed bright spots, 11 showed dark areas in EIS and 5 showed no specific image. Of the 30 patients with 34 benign tumors there were almost no specific abnormality shown in the EIS results. Primary ex vivo spectroscopy experiments showed that the resistivity of various breast tissue take the following pattern: adipose tissue > cancerous tissue > mammary gland and benign tumor tissue. CONCLUSIONS: There are significant differences in the electrical impedance properties between cancerous tissue and healthy tissue. The impedivity of benign tumor is lower, and is at the same level with that of the mammary glandular tissue. The distinct growth pattern of breast lesions determined the different electrical impedance characteristics in the EIS results.
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