Breast ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive test that uses sound waves to
produce pictures of the inside of your breast. It’s primarily used
to help diagnose breast lumps or other abnormalities your doctor may have
found during a physical exam, mammogram or breast MRI.
What is a breast ultrasound?
To conduct a breast ultrasound, a gel is put on the skin of the breast
and the technologist will use a handheld device 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.
When would I need a breast ultrasound procedure?
A breast ultrasound is often performed as a follow-up to a mammogram and
can help detect breast cancers that may not be visible with mammography.
A doctor may order a breast ultrasound if a mammogram reveals breast abnormalities such as:
- a lump in your breast
- a tender or painful area in your breast
- a change in texture or appearance of your nipple
- unusual discharge from your nipple
Sometimes a breast ultrasound may be used instead of a mammogram to screen
for breast cancer, including:
- in pregnant people and people under age 25 years, who shouldn’t be
exposed to radiation from a mammogram
- in people who have dense breast tissue
- check for leaks or other problems with breast implants
Breast ultrasounds do not replace mammograms.
Ultrasound is one of the tools used in breast imaging, but it does not
replace annual mammography. Many calcifications visible on mammography
are not visible on ultrasound. Biopsy may be recommended to determine
if a suspicious abnormality is cancer or not.
At Gunnison Valley Health, we offer a complete range of breast imaging
services for those who need a more in depth screen or further examination:
For more information, speak to your physician or
contact Gunnison Valley Health's Diagnostic Imaging Department at (970) 641-7253.