Ultrasound of the Breast
Ultrasound is used to investigate an abnormality detected by mammography or during a physician-performed breast exam. It can quickly determine whether a lump is a cyst (sac containing fluid) or a dense mass. Ultrasound scans are pictures created from sound waves and require no radiation. High-frequency transducers are used to examine breast tissue.
What are the Advantages?
Ultrasound waves are not known to affect adults, children or unborn children. There is no discomfort in the examination, although there may be mild pressure from the transducer.
Before the Procedure
At the time you make your appointment, you will receive specific instructions. Wear comfortable clothes. You will be asked to undress from the waist up and change into a hospital gown. The lights in the room will be dimmed so the pictures on the television screen can be seen more clearly.
A gel is applied to the area of the patient’s body to be examined in order to allow the transducer to direct inaudible sound waves into the body. The transducer is pressed firmly against the skin and swept back and forth several times across the area of interest. As the sound emits echoes through the body’s fluids and tissues, the transducer records tiny changes in the
pitch and direction of the sound. The computer instantly measures and converts these changes to images for display or recording. You may need to remain still, change positions or hold your breath during the procedure.
After the Procedure
When the scan is completed, the sonographer will remove the gel from your skin and you will be allowed to dress. Although the sonographer performing the scan can see the pictures on the screen, they must be interpreted by a physician. A report will be prepared and sent to your physician. Your doctor will be able to discuss the results with you in detail.