Ultrasound is a painless and effective means of examining the tissue of the breast. It uses high frequency sound waves, from which images of the breast tissue are produced. The breast tissue is examined for any abnormality. The blood flow within the breast tissue can also be assessed using Doppler ultrasound.
Ultrasound is often used to examine breasts in younger women whose breast are denser, making it hard to detect abnormalities on a mammogram. In more mature women, it is a normal practice to have breast ultrasound in conjunction with or immediately after the mammogram. Ultrasound may identify regions of interest not seen by the mammogram. It can also be used to target specific lesions indicated on the mammogram, and assist in identifying these.
Ultrasound of the breast tissue can identify a focal area within the breast tissue, and distinguish if it is a cyst (a fluid filled region of breast tissue) or a solid lesion. Ultrasound can assist in diagnosing problems such as mastitis or an abscess (infection of the breast tissue), abnormal nipple discharge or problems with breast implants.
You will need to change for this examination. The sonographer will leave the ultrasound room. In the privacy of the examination room, you will remove all clothing above the waste and put on the blue gown provided, opening to the front, and lie on your back on the examination couch.
The sonographer on her return, will uncover your right breast and apply warm gel to the breast, which enables the ultrasound to penetrate the skin. The ultrasound probe is gently moved over the surface of the skin of the breast and axilla (under arm) during the examination, with the sonographer recording images of the breast tissue during the assessment. This procedure is repeated on your left breast.
Once the examination is completed, the sonographer will provide you with soft absorbent wipes to clean the breasts with, and leave the room while you tidy and dress.