Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound produces images of the breast by generating high-frequency sound waves. As the sound waves bounce off breast tissues, they create echoes. A computer then translates these echoes into images on a screen, images that can show abnormalities (disease) within the breast. The process is fast, painless and completely free of radiation or harmful side effects.

breast ultrasound

There are two primary uses for breast ultrasound:

To determine the nature of a breast abnormality

When a mammogram or self examination reveals an abnormality, breast ultrasound may be used to help diagnose and characterize it. With ultrasound, it is possible to determine if the abnormality is a non-cancerous (benign) lump of tissue or a cancerous (malignant) tumor.

Supplemental breast cancer screening

Although mammography is the only screening tool for breast cancer that is known to reduce deaths due to early detection, it does not detect all breast cancers. Some breast lesions and abnormalities are not visible or are difficult to interpret on mammograms, especially in breasts that are dense. Screening ultrasound can be an alternative to breast MRI in some cases, such as in women with dense breasts, women with implants, women who are pregnant, or women who may be unable or unwilling to have a breast MRI performed.

For breast ultrasound, no special preparation is needed.

If you are pregnant, please tell your doctor or a patient representative before your test.

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