Women’s Imaging: Breast Ultrasound
What is a breast ultrasound?
Breast ultrasound uses sound waves and a special computer to image the breast. Like mammography and MRI, it is used for both screening and diagnostic testing. Through a transducer, sound waves are directed into the breast, and as they bounce off internal structures, they create echoes. These echoes are then translated by the computer into images on a screen.
What are breast ultrasound screenings used for?
Screening with breast ultrasound is often used for women with dense breast tissue, in addition to mammography. Dense breast tissue is more fibrous than non-dense or fatty breast tissue, and this can mask or hide certain cancers on a mammographic image. Ultrasound is an effective and less expensive adjunctive test to mammography for women with dense breasts.
Ultrasound is also used to evaluate a suspicious finding on a mammogram. It provides additional insight for an accurate diagnosis, and in some cases, can be used to help distinguish cancerous from non-cancerous tissue without the need for a biopsy.
What should I expect during a breast ultrasound?
During the test, you will lie comfortably on your back on an exam table. The sonographer will guide a special transducer over the skin of your breasts while looking at the monitor, to make sure the required areas are fully imaged.
How do I prepare for a breast ultrasound?
On the day of your test, wear comfortable clothes that may be easily removed. Avoid using powder or lotions of any kind on your breasts, and please do not wear jewelry on your breasts or chest during your test.