Ultrasound machines use sound vibrations to see tissues inside the breast. The process can present all areas of the breast, including abnormalities like lumps, masses and cysts. The area very near the chest wall can also be viewed, which is harder to see using a mammogram. X-rays and possibly harmful kinds of radiation are not used in breast ultrasound. You will realize that the procedure is very easy and convenient to go through.
Purposes of a Breast Scan
Ultrasound of the breast is done to detect the cause of many breast symptoms like redness, pain and swelling. Doctors can check lumps found during breast self-examination or physical examination. The lump will be assessed whether it is filled with fluid or solid. A lump without any fluid or one with fluid and floating items may require more tests. The ultrasound can also confirm with abnormal results found during mammography.
Younger women’s breasts tend to be firmer and denser, making it difficult for mammograms to present details accurately and spurring the need for ultrasound. People with dense breasts or those who have silicone breast implants may be harder to view via a mammogram and will need ultrasound. The procedure can also guide needle insertion or other tubes that intend to drain fluids that accumulate in cysts or abscesses. Other procedures guided by ultrasound include breast surgery and biopsy of breast tissue.
It will be more convenient if you wear loose-fitting two-piece attire to easily undress above the waist. Talk to your doctor regarding your concerns and other special preparations he or she may want from you before the diagnostic test. You may be asked to fill up a medical test information form. A trained technologist or sonographer is the most common professional that may handle ultrasound machines. It is advised not to wear or bring jewelry with you for the procedure.
The breast ultrasound test will take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. If a biopsy is intended, the test will take longer. Afterwards, a radiologist will view the pictures and give you images plus information about the results. The gel usually feels cold once it comes in contact with your skin. You will also feel light pressure as the transducer moves along the surface. You should feel no pain or discomfort unless you have tender areas that need to be examined too. The sound waves have very high frequencies and cannot be heard by human ears. Complete results of the test will be available in 24 to 48 hours.
More Things to Ponder
Ultrasound machines will show results that are considered “normal” if the breast tissue appears normal, with no growths, masses or lesions present. Blood flow should also be moving adequately along the areas of the breast. An “abnormal” diagnosis will be given if cysts or fluid-filled sacs are present, lumps or masses are present and blood flow is not moving well in particular areas. Solid lumps will also need more tests such as a biopsy to confirm diagnosis.
If you have an open wound in the breast area, the test may be delayed because of possibly inaccurate results. Pregnant women and those below 25 years are recommended to go through ultrasound machines instead of being exposed to radiation. Ultrasound on a regular basis is ideal for women with a family history of breast cancer.