High Resolution Breast Ultrasound
Sentara offers breast ultrasound exams at breast centers and hospitals throughout the Sentara system. Sentara staff takes great care to ensure patients understand the procedure and feel comfortable before and during the exam. The results will be read by a radiologist specially trained to read breast ultrasound exams and other diagnostic images.
About high resolution breast ultrasound
- Ultrasound imaging uses high frequency sound waves to produce pictures inside the body. There is no radiation exposure.
- A physician will order a breast ultrasound to get more information about a lump in the breast.
- The ultrasound exam can determine if a lump is a solid mass or fluid filled. An abnormality that is solid can be a cancerous or noncancerous growth.
- A sonographer will scan the breast using a transducer against the skin in several locations to take varying images of the mass.
What is a breast ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures inside the body. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test and does not use radiation to create an image.
What can a breast ultrasound tell my doctor?
Breast ultrasounds can give your doctor more information about a breast lump. It can identify:
- Cysts (fluid-filled sacs)
- Fibroadenomas (noncancerous solid growths)
- Lipomas – Noncancerous fatty lumps that can occur anywhere in the body, including the breasts
- Breast cancer
A radiologist or breast surgeon also may perform an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. An ultrasound exam will usually be performed before the biopsy to plan the procedure and determine if the planned method of biopsy can be used.
How do I prepare for my exam?
Wearing a two-piece outfit is helpful because you need to remove clothing from the waist up. On the day of the test, do not use any lotions or powders on your breasts or wear deodorant under your arms.
How is the test performed?
Patients lie on their back on the examining table and may be asked to raise an arm above the head. A clear water-based gel will be applied to the area being studied. The gel helps the transducer make secure contact with the breast and eliminates air pockets between the transducer and skin.
The sonographer or radiologist will press the transducer against the skin in various locations to see an area of concern. If breasts feel tender in some areas, patients may feel some minor pain from the transducer.
This ultrasound examination is usually completed within 30 minutes.
Are there risks?
There are no known harmful effects and no radiation exposure.
How will I find out my results?
A radiologist will analyze the images and send a report to your primary care physician or the physician who referred you for the exam, who will share the results with you. In some cases, the radiologist may discuss results with you after your examination.