Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. It is the same type of scan many women have during a pregnancy to check that their baby is healthy. Ultrasound has been used widely in breast investigations for many decades and does not involve the use any radiation.
Ultrasound gives different information to a mammogram (X-ray). It is used to look at discrete areas of change or interest such as a breast lump and also the lymph nodes under your arm. It may also be used in helping the radiologist to take a tissue sample of an area within the breast if required. It is used widely in women of all ages.
WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE ENTAIL?
During an ultrasound scan you can lie comfortably on your back on a medical examination couch. A clear gel will be applied to breast skin which helps the machine to get the best quality pictures of the tissue being examined. The radiologist will move the scanning probe over the breast or lymph node area to examine them, and may discuss carrying out a biopsy if they feel this might be helpful in making a diagnosis.
Results will usually be available immediately or within a few days of the investigation being carried out.
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