Ultrasound is an advanced way to look at the breast and is considered a compliment to annual mammography. Ultrasound uses ultrasonic sound waves, not radiation, to evaluate the breast tissue, and is considered a very safe and pain-free method of testing.
A breast ultrasound is important to include as part of your imaging work up if you have a breast lump or thickening, focal breast pain, or as an adjuvant to mammography for women with dense breast tissue.
How is a Breast Ultrasound Performed?
For your breast ultrasound, you will be required to change into a medical gown and be undressed from the waist up. You may consider wearing a comfortable two-piece outfit so that only your top will need to be removed.
The breast ultrasound is performed while you lay on your back on an examining table. A gel is placed on the breast and on a small paddle (called a transducer). The transducer is the device that directs sound waves through the breast tissue. An image is created by moving the transducer across the surface of the breast, sending signals back to the ultrasound machine as sound waves are bounced back. The sound waves are inaudible and do not cause any discomfort.
During the breast ultrasound you may be asked to hold your breath very briefly. You also will be asked to turn to the side and raise your arms above your head so that the doctor may get a complete image. In all, the exam only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Once the ultrasound is completed, you may dress and discuss the results with your doctor.
Who Should Have a Breast Ultrasound?
A breast ultrasound may be performed by itself or with mammography.
Ultrasound may be required to examine the following types of women:
- Women with dense breast tissue
- Women with breast lumps or masses
- Women with fibrocystic breast disease
- Women with silicon breast implants
- Women who avoid exposure to x-rays, such as mammograms
Pacific Breast Care, located in Orange County, California, provides breast ultrasound and other imaging services to patients from Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach and Irvine areas. We also have patients from throughout Southern California, the United States and the world.
For questions about breast ultrasounds, call Pacific Breast Care at 949-515-3544.