The latest in digital sound wave imaging technology, breast ultrasound produces detailed images of breast lumps and irregular formations. It’s painless, prompt, and can supplement the information obtained from a mammogram.
At ARYA STANA BONE & BREAST CARE breast ultrasound is done with high-frequency digital sound waves that produce an extremely clear picture of the internal structures of the breast.
Breast specialists often recommend ultrasound as the first procedure for assessing palpable lumps in women younger than 30 years and to determine the nature of a breast abnormality detected by mammography. Breast ultrasound is also used to pinpoint a suspicious mass when conducting a breast biopsy or cyst aspiration.
Breast ultrasound (or sonography) is often used to evaluate breast abnormalities that are found with a mammogram or clinical breast exam performed by a Doctor. Some breast lesions and abnormalities are not visible or are difficult to interpret on a mammogram. If breast tissue is dense (meaning there is a lot of glandular tissue and less fat – more common in younger women) many tumors can be hard to distinguish on a mammogram since both the dense tissue and the tumor (usually benign) appear white.
The ultrasound uses high-frequency waves that are emitted from a transducer through the breast. The transducer glides over the breast emitting sound waves and picks up echoes for the body part being scanned. The ultrasound machine analyzes the echoes and produces images for the breast radiologist to review. The shape and intensity of the echoes will depend on the density of the breast tissue. If a fluid-filled cyst is being imaged, most of the sound waves will pass through the cyst and emit faint echoes. If a solid tumor is imaged, sound waves will bounce off the tumor, and the pattern of echoes will be translated by the computer into a picture that the breast radiologist will recognize as indicating a solid mass. Patients may feel a slight pressure from the transducer as it glides over the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is an imaging procedure that uses very high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of many of the internal structures of the body. It is painless and produces very precise images of certain parts of the body.
Why is ultrasound performed?
Ultrasound uses high performance digital sound waves, not x-rays. For certain areas of the body these sound waves can image as well or better than other imaging devices. These sound waves are harmless and may be used with complete safety, even on pregnant women.
When is a breast ultrasound exam done?
An ultrasound breast exam is primarily used as a diagnostic tool – it is not a screening method for breast cancer. It may be done when:
- An area of concern has been found on a diagnostic mammogram.
- You are experiencing nipple drainage, or have an area where the skin has retracted on your breast.
- You have very dense breasts. When breasts are mostly dense, lesions may be more recognisable using ultrasound.
What can I expect during a breast ultrasound examination?
The patient is positioned on an examination bed. A clear warm gel is applied to the skin over the entire breast area to be examined. This helps to transmit the sound waves by excluding air and will not harm your skin or your clothes. A soft covered device called a transducer is gently moved over the skin surface and images showing structures inside the breast are produced on a monitor.
What should I do to prepare for an ultrasound exam?
No preparation is necessary for a breast ultrasound examination.
How long will my ultrasound examination take?
The breast ultrasound will take about 10 minutes depending on the finding on the mammogram and ultrasound.
Is the ultrasound examination safe?
ARYA STANA BONE & BREAST CARE provides state of the art equipment with high performance digital ultrasound with duplex and color doppler. The radiologist has extensive experience and training in ultrasound. Since ultrasound uses sound waves rather than radiation, it is harmless.
Do I need a referral to have my ultrasound examination?
You do not need a referral.
If you are less than 40 years of age and have no family history of breast cancer, you may have a Breast ultrasound alone as a screening examination. If you have any symptoms or a family history of breast cancer you may require a Mammogram as well. We can advise you.
When will I know the results of my examination?
A detailed written report of the procedure will be given to you at the end of your consultation and sent to your referring Doctor. Your Doctor will contact you to discuss the results.