Breast Ultrasound – Frequently Asked Questions

Breast Ultrasound – Frequently Asked Questions

How is the ultrasound done?

While you are lying on your back on a padded table, a transducer is run over the area of the breast to be imaged. This painless procedure uses sound waves to show structures inside the breast. There is no radiation involved.

Preparation for the exam

There is no preparation for this exam

When is an ultrasound exam done?

An ultrasound examination of the breast is used as a diagnostic tool. It is not a primary screening study for breast cancer. Mammography and ultrasound are complementary techniques for evaluating the breast.

Ultrasound may be done when:
  • An area of concern has been found on a diagnostic mammogram.
  • You have a breast lump
  • You are experiencing nipple discharge
  • You have very dense breasts. When breasts are mostly dense, rather than fatty tissue, mammograms are not as good at detecting cancer. Nevertheless mammography can find breast cancer in a woman with dense breast tissue.

Should I get an ultrasound instead of a mammogram?

Mammography is recommended for yearly screening for breast cancer in women over the age of 40. Ultrasound on the other hand, is used when a lump or area of concern is felt or when an abnormality is seen. Ultrasound is not routinely used for yearly screening for breast cancer.

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