A breast ultrasound is another non- invasive way to take a look at your breast health. It is an imaging technique in which high-frequency sound waves are bounced off tissues in your breast. Their echoes produce a picture called a sonogram. We like to use ultrasound imaging of the breast in conjunction with thermography to evaluate areas of concern with two different screenings. For example, ultrasound can be used to further the diagnosis of a breast abnormality, by distinguishing between solid growths and fluid-filled cysts.
Ultrasound has the advantage of producing images without the need of ionizing radiation. It is the preferred imaging technology for women who have implants, or are under the age of 25.
What Should I Expect When I Have a Breast Ultrasound?
During a breast ultrasound examination, the clinician spreads a thin coat of lubricating jelly over the area of the breast to improve the conduction of the sound waves. A hand-held device, called a transducer, directs sound waves through the skin toward specific tissues. As the sound waves are reflected back from the tissues within the breast, the patterns formed by the waves create a two-dimensional image of the breast on a computer, which can provide an image of a mass within the breast.
When Would I Need a Breast Ultrasound?
Breast ultrasounds are often performed as a follow-up to the discovery of lumps during a physical exam or a thermogram. Other reasons for a breast ultrasound include:
Assessments of nipple discharge
Evaluation of implants
Evaluation of inflamed mammary tissues, called mastitis
Assessment of discoloration and other types of skin change
Investigation of breast pain, swelling, and redness
Monitoring of benign lumps
Supplemental analysis of mammogram or magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) exam results
How Do I Prepare for a Breast Ultrasound?
There are several things to keep in mind as you prepare for a breast ultrasound:
Your technician will explain the procedure to you. This is a good time to ask any questions you may have.
You’re permitted to eat and drink before an ultrasound.
Do not apply any lotions or powders to your breasts prior to the exam. It is also better not to wear jewelry or a watch.
You should wear clothing that is easily removed.
Follow any instructions provided by the medical technician.
You should learn the results within a few days of the procedure. If you’ve already been diagnosed with a lump, waiting can be the most difficult part of the process. The good news is that about 80 percent of all breast lumps – that’s four out of every five – prove to be benign.
An Important Way to Maintain Breast Health
For every woman, breast health is important to your overall health. Be sure to take care of yourself with regular breast-health screenings. Northwest Medical Screening offers both thermograms and ultrasounds for your peace of mind.
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