Breast ultrasound, a painless, non-invasive scanning technique, gives SimonMed radiologists an important means of assessing patients’ breast health. When used together with other breast imaging tools, breast ultrasound can help our radiologists provide accurate, reliable diagnoses.
Let’s take a closer look at breast ultrasound and what you can expect as a patient receiving ultrasound care at SimonMed.
What is breast ultrasound?
Unlike mammography or MRI, ultrasound produces images of breast structures using sound waves. In the ultrasound procedure, a device called a transducer sends high-frequency sound waves into the body and collects the sounds that bounce back. Advanced computer software then turns the sound data into images.
Because ultrasound uses sound waves, there’s no risk of radiation exposure. Receiving ultrasound is also completely painless.
When is breast ultrasound recommended?
Breast ultrasound alone is not precise enough to detect or diagnose breast cancer. However, ultrasound can supplement a physical exam, mammography, or breast MRI, providing a more complete picture of a patient’s breast health. When does it make sense to use ultrasound?
- For patients at higher risk for breast cancer who don’t have access to or are not good candidates for breast MRI.
- To gain further clarity about lumps or abnormalities found in a mammogram or breast MRI. For example, ultrasound can help determine whether the abnormality is a solid lump or a fluid-filled cyst.
- As a follow-up to mammography for women with dense breast tissue.
- To help guide the needle during a biopsy.
- For pregnant women who should not be exposed to the radiation used in mammography.
To a greater extent than mammography or breast MRI, ultrasound has a tendency to find breast abnormalities which are biopsied and turn out not to be cancerous —so-called “false positives.” Despite this limitation, we believe the additional level of visibility provided by ultrasound makes ultrasound an essential part of breast care.
What can I expect during an ultrasound?
The ultrasound procedure is painless and usually only takes about 30 minutes. After checking in, you’ll be asked to remove your clothing and put on a gown. Once you’re positioned comfortably on the examining table, your SimonMed technician will apply a water-based gel to the areas of your breasts being scanned. The gel helps the transducer glide while removing any pockets of air which may form between the transducer and the skin.
As the technician moves the transducer over the breasts, a computer turns the reflected sounds into images. These images will appear on a screen in real time throughout the examination.
Once the scan is complete the technician will wipe off the gel and you can resume your normal activities.
The SimonMed difference
The skill of the ultrasound technician can affect the quality and usefulness of an ultrasound image. SimonMed ultrasound technicians—called sonographers—are highly trained experts in the use of ultrasound technology. In addition, they’re friendly caregivers committed to making your ultrasound experience the most comfortable it can be. As a SimonMed breast ultrasound patient, you’ll be in very good hands.
If your doctor recommends an ultrasound in addition to mammography or an MRI, we invite you to learn more about SimonMed. Contact us today to speak with a member of our care team or to schedule an appointment.
Why Choose Us
SimonMed Imaging and its affiliates have been serving the community for over 30 years. Our mission is to provide best-in class affordable care through the use of advanced technology. We have patient-focused staff and highly trained medical professionals.
SimonMed has over 150 convenient locations across 11 states and provides late night and weekend appointments to accommodate patients.