Breast ultrasound

Definition

Breast ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to examine the breasts.

You will be asked to undress from the waist up. You will be given a gown to wear.

During the test, you will lie on your back on an examining table.

The doctor or nurse will place a gel on the breast skin. A hand-held device, called a transducer, is moved over the breast area. You will be asked to raise your arms above your head and turn to the left or right as needed.

The device sends sound waves to the breast tissue. The sound waves help create a picture that can be seen on a computer screen.

The number of people involved in the test will be limited to protect your privacy.

You may want to wear a two-piece outfit, so you do not have to completely undress.

On the day of the test, do not use any lotion or powder on your breasts. Do not use deodorant under your arms. Remove jewelry from your neck and chest area.

This test usually does not cause any discomfort.

Breast ultrasound is usually ordered when more information is needed after other tests are done. These tests may include mammogram or breast MRI.

Your health care provider may order this test if you have:

A breast ultrasound can help:

A normal result means the breast tissue appears normal.

Ultrasound can help show noncancerous growths such as:

Breast cancers can also be seen with ultrasound.

Follow-up tests to determine treatment may be needed:

Risks

There are no risks associated with breast ultrasound. There is no radiation exposure.


Review Date: 11/15/2013
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.