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    What does an ultrasound of the breast show?

    Posted by Ravi Sohal on Thu, Feb 04, 2010

    breast cyst ultrasoundUltrasound tests use sound waves to create images of the internal organs. Breast ultrasounds are frequently ordered to evaluate new breast masses, cysts, nodules or suspicious findings on a mammogram. They can also be used to follow up unusual mammographic findings that are not clearly cancerous over time or help in breast tissue biopsies.

    In the breast ultrasound picture to the right, the breast tissue is the gray speckled tissue around the black "hole". The "hole" is a cyst filled with fluid.

    Many breast ultrasound exams are ordered during or after a mammogram. On occasion, when a mammogram does not show a lump that you or your doctor felt, ultrasound is used to further examine the tissue.

    Your doctor's order may read "r/o nodule", "r/o tumor" or "follow up mammogram", for example.

    (FYI "r/o" stands for rule out)

    Remember if you are going for a breast ultrasound be sure to bring your mammogram films (most recent and previous) with reports if you had these done at a different facility.

    Below are some common uses for breast ultrasounds.

    • Examine new nodules felt during a physical exam
    • Evaluate for suddenly growing nodules of the breast
    • Evaluate suspicious findings on a mammogram such as a nodule, mass or scarring
    • Follow up nodules or cysts that are not clearly cancerous
    • Use ultrasound to help guide a biopsy of a breast mass or drain a cyst

    Below is a brief outline of the procedure.

    1. After you sign in to the Radiology office, you'll be taken to the ultrasound room.  Be sure to have your mammogram with you if it was done at a different facility.
    2. An ultrasound technician will perform the test.
    3. The technologist will ask you to remove your shirt, bra and change into a gown.
    4. Once the technologist returns, you will lie down on a bed/gurney.
    5. He or she will place a a warmed gel solution over the skin of your breast.
    6. The technologist will use an ultrasound probe and glide it over the breast and take pictures.
    7. The technologist may ask the Radiologist doctor to review the scan before you leave.
    8. An official report is generated by the Radiologist in about 24-48 hours.

    If you are insured breast ultrasounds are covered. However, for uninsured patients these tests can be quite expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $300 for this test.

    Have you had a breast ultrasound? What was it like? Please leave your comments below:

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    The facility I went to has digital mammograms and is ACR certified. The facility is not ACR certified for breast ultrasound or biopsy. Two small deep nodules were noted. A core needle biopsy was recommended by the radiologist. Is there a problem where the same radiologist reads the mammo, the unltrasound and is scheduled to do the biopsy? Should there be more people in this process making decisions and reviewing. The primary care doctor is valueless and the surgeon refused to do an excisional biopsy. Not to talk about the surgeons history of malpractice claims but his willingness to do a mastectomy after the biopsy. Any comments would be appreciated. All of this has been very disturbing.

    posted @ Monday, April 12, 2010 1:03 PM by Annie

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