A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the tissues inside the breast. A breast ultrasound can show all areas of the breast, including the area closest to the chest wall, which is hard to study with a mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not use x-rays.
A breast ultrasound is used to see whether a breast lump is filled with fluid (a cyst) or if it is a solid lump. An ultrasound does not replace the need for a mammogram, but it is often used to help check dense breasts and to check areas of interest demonstrated on a mammogram.
A small handheld unit called a transducer is gently passed back and forth over the breast. A computer turns the sound waves into a picture on a TV screen. The picture is called a sonogram or ultrasound scan.
A sonographer will perform the breast ultrasound. A chaperone is available if a male sonographer is on duty.
There may be a need to perform a breast ultrasound in addition to the mammogram. The reason for this will be explained to you. Note- there is an additional cost involved.
A breast ultrasound may be required if you have dense breast tissue. In younger women breast tissue is often more dense, and a mammogram may not show as much detail.