Breast ultrasounds can be beneficial for looking for a variety of breast changes, including lumps—particularly ones that are not seen on a mammogram but can be felt. They can also be used to look at any changes seen on a mammogram.
Ultrasounds are also useful in determining the difference between fluid-filled cysts (often unlikely to be cancer) and solid masses (which may require further testing). They can also be used to help guide biopsy needles for accurate cell capture. Ultrasounds are widely used and available, tend to be simple procedures, and don’t expose the patients to radiation. They also cost less than other options for breast exams.
What to expect when getting a Breast Ultrasound:
Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a computer picture of the inside of the breast.
A gel is put on the skin of the breast, and a wand-like instrument called a transducer is moved over the skin. The transducer sends out sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off body tissues. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen. You might feel some pressure as the transducer is moved across the breast, but it should not be painful.