BREAST ULTRASOUND EXAMINATION
your Breast Ultrasound Exam
information sheet aims to answer the frequently asked questions. You may have
heard about Breast ultrasound examination, and you may still have some questions
Diagnostic ultrasound (sonography) uses sound
waves that have a pitch higher than what human beings can normally hear. Sound
waves are transmitted into the breast using a probe (transducer) as it scans the
breast. The sound is reflected by the internal structures. The reflected echoes
are received by the probe and converted by a computer electronically into an
image which is seen on the monitor.
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine states that so far no harmful
effects have been demonstrated with clinical use of ultrasound. Although the
possibility exists that biological effects may be identified in the future,
current information indicates that the benefits to patients far outweigh any
Why do I need
a breast ultrasound examination?
Ultrasound examination of the breast adds to the information obtained by
clinical examination and mammography (X ray examination of the breast). The
findings from breast sonography are correlated with findings from clinical
examination, mammography and results from pathological examination.
Breast ultrasound can identify cysts (fluid filled
sacs), tumors, abscesses, lymph nodes. Needle test (fine needle aspiration),
draining of a cyst or an abscess, a tissue sample (biopsy) of a suspicious area
is best performed using ultrasound guidance.
Who will do
The examination is usually performed by a specially trained doctor/breast care
nurse or a health care professional. Based on the images, and correlation with
clinical and mammographic findings a recommendation may be made for a biopsy or
drainage procedure to be performed using ultrasound guidance.
How is breast
You will be asked to undress up to your waist. You will be instructed to lie on
your back, or to lie on your side, or sit on an examining table. Gel will be
placed on your skin and a probe (transducer) will be moved over the area to be
examined. The gel may be cold. Some centres have a warmer and use warm gel,
which washes easily. The room may be darkened during the examination. The
examination is not painful. Needle tests performed with ultrasound guidance can
be uncomfortable. The doctor may feel the area while performing the
are the limitations of breast ultrasound?
Some of the suspicious areas seen on the mammography my not be seen on
ultrasound examination. Chalk like deposits which are well seen on mammography
may not be seen on ultrasound. If that is the case needle tests or biopsies need
to be done by other means.
Is it safe to drive after an
After the exam,
you can drive home safely and eat and drink normally.