Ultrasound of Breast


A breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the inside of your breasts. It can help your healthcare provider find breast problems. This test is often used when a change has been seen on a mammogram or when a change is felt, but does not show up on a mammogram.


Why might I need a breast ultrasound?

A breast ultrasound is most often done to find out if a problem found by a mammogram or physical exam of the breast may be a cyst filled with fluid, a solid tumour or a condition that is not worrying.

Breast ultrasound is not the first-line recommendation to screen for breast cancer for women above 40 years old. This is because it may miss some early signs of cancer. An example of early signs that may not show up on ultrasound are tiny calcium deposits called microcalcifications. Younger women who want some form of imaging may consider an ultrasound breast. For women who have a strong family history of breast cancer, a mammogram beginning from 30 years old can be considered. 


Ultrasound may be used if you:

  • Have particularly dense breast tissue.
    • A mammogram may not be able to see through the tissue.
  • Are pregnant.
    • Mammography uses radiation, but ultrasound does not. This makes it safer for the foetus.
  • Are younger than age 40 

In the event that you need further investigation via biopsy, your doctor  may also use ultrasound to look at nearby lymph nodes, help guide a needle during a biopsy, or to remove fluid from a cyst. 





How is it done?

You will be asked to remove any jewellery and clothing from the waist up. You will be given a gown to wear.
You will lie on your back on an exam table. You will be asked to raise your arm above your head on the side of the breast to be looked at. Or you may be placed on your side.
The Radiologist or sonographer will put a clear, cold gel on the skin over the breast area to be looked at.
The Radiologist or sonographer will press the transducer against the skin and move it over the area being studied.
Once the test is done, the gel will be wiped off.