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
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.