Ultrasound is useful for women with dense breasts or for evaluating suspicious areas seen by mammography or felt during a breast exam. It can also find breast lesions that are close to the chest, where mammography is less useful, and it can distinguish between cysts, which are filled with fluid, and other types of breast lumps.
Ultrasound uses sound waves instead of x-rays to exam breast tissue. A transducer is passed over the breast and the transmitted sound waves are translated into a picture on a monitor. It does not cause discomfort and because it does not use radiation, it carries no real risk.
• Wearing a two piece outfit for the exam will allow you to undress only above the waist.
• After donning a gown, the technologist will have you lie down on the ultrasound table. He or she will apply warm gel to the breast, to help the hand-held transducer transmit the sound waves.
• The ultrasound should take only about 15 to 20 minutes.
• After the test, you may be asked to wait for the radiologist to review your results.
• The radiologist will provide a written report to your physician. If any of the findings warrant follow-up, you may be referred for additional tests or possibly a biopsy to sample tissue from the lump.
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