Your doctor may recommend a breast ultrasound to evaluate a palpable mass felt on physical exam. Additionally, breast ultrasound may be utilized to answer questions identified on a screening mammogram. Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of your breast. There is no radiation involved. Ultrasound imaging can help to determine if an abnormality is solid (which may be a non-cancerous lump of tissue or a cancerous tumor) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst) or both cystic and solid. Ultrasound can also help pinpoint the position of a tumor. Breast ultrasound is frequently employed in conjunction with a diagnostic mammogram. Some studies have suggested that it may be helpful to use ultrasound along with mammogram when screening women with dense breast tissue as seen on a mammogram. (Dense breast tissue is hard to evaluate with a mammogram alone.)
There isn’t really anything you can do to prepare for a breast ultrasound.
During the Exam
After you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked to remove your shirt and change into a gown. You may wish to wear a two-piece outfit that day. You will lie face up on a padded exam table. A small amount of gel will be applied to the area being examined. A probe is then placed against the skin. You may be instructed to hold your breath for a short period of time. The test takes about 10-20 minutes to complete.