Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound What preparation is needed for a breast ultrasound?

There is no preparation needed for a breast ultrasound. However, if you have any images or reports from either a breast ultrasound or mammogram you have had in the past, please bring them with you.

What do you look at in a breast ultrasound?

The sonographer will scan one or both of your breasts and armpits. She will be looking at normal breast tissue and for any cystic or solid lesions. It is quite common to have benign breast lumps so don’t be worried if you see her measuring something on the screen – it won’t necessarily be cancer.

What’s the difference between an ultrasound and a mammogram? Which one is better?

Mammograms and ultrasounds are both diagnostic medical imaging tests that look at breast tissue. The mammogram uses radiation and the ultrasound uses sound energy to obtain the image. These tests document the tissue is different ways and can identify different things. Neither is better or worse than the other. Some patients may require a breast MRI – another form of non-invasive breast imaging. Your doctor will discuss this with you if it’s relevant.

If you are over 50 years old, it is generally recommended you have a mammogram every 3 years. If this is you, chat with your GP about Breast Screening. We recommend having a breast ultrasound at the same time as your regular screening mammogram. These tests complement each other and by having both you have ‘covered all bases’ when it comes to scanning your breasts.

What will happen during the exam?

You will need to remove any clothing from the waist up, lie on the ultrasound bed and cover yourself with a sheet provided. The sonographer may position you on your side and with one hand above your head. The breast that is not being scanned will be covered. The sonographer will put warm gel on your skin and glide a transducer over your breast tissue. She will have to scan around the breast a few times to see everything from a few angles. She will also scan behind the nipple and in the armpit.

What happens after the exam?

You will be given time and privacy to get comfortable and dressed. The sonographer will tell you any significant findings from the exam. She will write a report and that will be emailed to you and your referring doctor within 24 hours.

Can men have breast ultrasounds?

Yes. It is not uncommon for men to require breast ultrasound if they notice a lump or asymmetry between their right and left breasts. The process for scanning men and women is the same.

How long does a breast ultrasound take?

The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes but the scanning time will be less than this.