What is Breast Ultrasound?
Ultrasound uses sound waves similar ot that used during pregnancy to look at the fetus. It does not have any radiation. Breast Ultrasound is used as an adjunct to mammography in the same fashion that MRI compliments mammography.
What are the indications for Breast Ultrasound?
The most common indication fro breast ultrasound is fro a palpable finding, meaning something that is found by the physician or patient on physical exam. Ultrasound is also used for masses, distortion, or unequal breast tissue (asymmetries) seen on mammography. It may also be helpful following an MRI if an abnormality needs to be biopsied. Ultrasound may be used as a guidance modality in performing minimally invasive breast biopsy.
The American College of Radiology does not condone screening breast ultrasound at this point in time. However, ACRIN 6666 is a national trial currently investigating screening breast ultrasound in women with dense breasts. Specifically ultrasound is being compared to breast MRI as a screening tool in high risk women. Until the technique of performing the exam, indications, and management of findings are standardized, Radiology Regional Center will adhere to the guideline of the American College of Radiology. As this exciting new area develops our practice looks forward to expanding these services.
What can I expect during the exam?
The routine exam typically takes 15-20 minutes. Warm jelly is applied to the breast in the specific area of concern either based on physical exam or abnormal mammogram/MRI finding. The exam is performed by a specially trained ultrasonographer. The radiologist may or may not scan the patient themselves. This will depend on the findings. The images will be reviewed by the reading radiologist and discussed with the patient prior to their departure from the office. There is no compression or radiation involved with this exam.
How do I prepare for this exam?
- Try to schedule your procedure for the week after your period when your breasts are less tender and less stimulated by hormones
- If possible, refraining from caffeine intake in most patients will decrease hormonal stimulation of the glandular tissue resulting in a better definable diagnosis in many cases
- If possible, wear a comfortable two piece outfit that will allow you to wear a gown from the waist up.
Where is this exam offered?