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Breast Ultrasound

Breast Ultrasound

Also known as a sonogram, a breast ultrasound will provide a look inside the breast at the tissue. It's painless and there are no side effects. The ultrasound is used to help show non-cancerous growths such as:

  • Cysts - fluid-filled sacs
  • Fibroadenomas - noncancerous solid growths
  • Lipomas - noncancerous fatty lumps that can occur anywhere in the body, including the breasts
  • Cancerous tumors

Typically, if a breast lump is found during an exam or there is an area of concern on a mammogram, the breast ultrasound can show whether it is a solid mass or a cyst. And this helps the doctor determine how to proceed with treatment.

It can also be used to check for a growth in the breast if a woman has clear or bloody nipple discharge.

How the Test is Performed

You will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a medical gown. During the test, you will lie on your back on the examining table.

A water-soluble gel is placed on the skin of the breast. A hand-held device (transducer) directs the sound waves to the breast tissue. The transducer is moved over the skin of the breast to create a picture that can be seen on a screen.

Breast ultrasound may also be used to guide a needle during a breast biopsy.

How to Prepare for the Test

Because you need to remove your clothing from the waist up, it may be helpful to wear a two-piece outfit. On the day of the test, do not use any lotions or powders on your breasts or wear deodorant under your arms.