Breast Ultrasound

After a Mammogram - Ultrasound

If something shows up on a mammogram that doesn’t look right, what are the next steps? There are two possibilities – breast ultrasound or MRI.

For an ultrasound, a patient would return to where she received a mammogram usually the same day. Since Penn Highlands Healthcare uses digital mammography, results are delivered quickly.

Ultrasounds are performed five-days-a-week by ultrasound technicians who are certified in breast sonography by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.

Breast ultrasound involves using high-frequency sound waves to provide pictures of the inside of the body. They do not use x-rays. Ultrasound images show structure and movement of an organ, including blood flow.

During an exam, a patient lies flat on her back with her arm raised above her head. A clear, water-based gel is applied to the area being studied. An ultrasound technician or sonographer uses a hand-held device called a transducer that glides over the breast skin. The gel will eliminate any air pockets and makes the transducer glide smoothly.

The transducer sends sound waves into the body and listens for the returning echoes from the tissues. It is similar to sonar used by boats and submarines. How they bounce back creates a picture on a computer screen in real time and recorded.

It may take a sonographer a few swipes of the transducer to get the spots that need to be seen. It is a painless procedure.

Benefits to Breast Ultrasound

There are benefits to ultrasound. Other than being painless and noninvasive, they give a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images. They can help detect lesions in women with dense breasts. It can help detect and classify a breast lesion, or abnormal or damaged tissue, that cannot be interpreted adequately through mammography alone. And using ultrasound, physicians can determine if something is a concern or not. The primary use of a breast ultrasound is to help diagnose abnormalities, such as a lump or nipple discharge. Ultrasounds can help physicians determine if an abnormality is solid or fluid-filled, such as a cyst.

If there is something that needs biopsied, a physician may decide to use the ultrasound as a guide and take a sample of questionable breast tissue for testing.

Ultrasound exams are good for women who are at high-risk for breast cancer but cannot tolerate other tests. It is also the ideal test for pregnant women who cannot be exposed to the x-rays of a mammogram. It is also good for women with dense breasts, such as those ages 30 and under, or those with silicone implants at any age.

Though it sounds better to get an ultrasound exam than a mammogram, ultrasounds do not replace mammograms.

Services We Provide

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Conditions We Treat

Breast Abnormalities
Cysts
Lumps
Nipple Discharge

Upcoming Breast Ultrasound Events

April 20191312:00 AM

Prenatal Education Class - Apr 2019

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August 20191312:00 AM

Breastfeeding Education Group - Aug 13

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