What is Ultrasound Imaging of the Breast?
Ultrasounds are safe and pain free. It produces pictures of the inside of the body by using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging uses a small probe called a transducer and gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves travel from the probe through the gel into the body. The probe then collects the sounds that bounces back. A computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. They do not use any radiation (as used in x-rays). Because images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs.
Ultrasound imaging of the breast produces a picture of the structures of the breast.
During a breast ultrasound examination, the health care provider performing the test may use Doppler techniques which evaluates blood flow or lack of flow in any breast mass. In some cases, this may provide additional information as to the causes of the mass.
How is the exam performed?
You will be asked to change into a gown. The technologist (Sonographer) will ask you to lie face up on an exam table. A special gel will be applied to your breast. The Sonographer then uses a transducer to scan over the whole breast and the area of interest. Images are obtained during the exam which is then sent to a monitor in the Radiologist reading room.
When will I know my results?
Just as soon as your exam is finished, the Radiologist reviews both the mammogram and ultrasound together and you will be informed of your results either by the Radiologist or Technologist before leaving.
In women 29 years of age and under, a breast ultrasound is often used as the first diagnostic exam before a mammogram.