Ultrasound, also called sonography, allows your physician to see a picture of the inside of your body, created by sound waves that cannot be heard by humans. These sound waves are reflected by internal organs and tissues in the body. They create echoes that can be read by an ultrasound machine and turned into a picture called a “sonogram.” A diagnostic breast ultrasound makes a sonogram of the breast for diagnosis.
These sonograms allow your healthcare professionals to tell the difference between solid tumors in the breast and fluid-filled cysts. Ultrasound can also be used to get more information about solid masses or lumps than can be gained with a mammogram alone. Ultrasound can also be combined with needle biopsy or other diagnostic measures.
What to Expect
When you have a diagnostic breast ultrasound, the clinician spreads a thin layer of lubricating jelly over the area to be examined. This helps improve the conduction of the sound waves. The clinician then uses a hand-held device called a transducer to send the sound waves through the skin toward the specific areas to be evaluated. As the sound waves bounce back from the tissues within the breast, a computer creates a sonogram from the pattern of the echoes.
If there are concerns about the images shown by the ultrasound, your physician may recommend additional diagnostic measures, including not only other types of imaging or biopsies, but also additional ultrasound imaging over a period of time.
Screening Breast Ultrasound
The Breast Center also offers automated whole breast ultrasound screening in addition to a mammogram for women with dense breast tissue.