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
mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not use
X-rays or other potentially harmful types of
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 check abnormal
results from a mammogram.
For a breast ultrasound, 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.
Why It Is Done
Breast ultrasound can add important information to the results of other tests, such as a mammogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It also may provide information that is not found with a mammogram. A breast ultrasound may be done to:
Find the cause of breast symptoms, such as
pain, swelling, and redness.
Check a breast lump found on breast
self-examination or physical examination. It is used to see whether a breast
lump is fluid-filled (a cyst) or if it is a solid lump. A lump that has no
fluid or that has fluid with floating particles may need more
Check abnormal results from a mammogram.
the breasts in younger women because their breast tissue is often more dense,
and a mammogram may not show as much detail.