The breast ultrasound is a commonly performed procedure that many women have undergone. In the following article we will look at what the procedure is and what it can tell the medical performing it, as well as when you should consider the routine and if there are any risks involved. Let us start by explaining exactly what a breast ultrasound is.
What is a Breast Ultrasound?
The Breast Ultrasound process is a non-invasive procedure that uses sound waves to produce an image of the internals of the breast. It is usually performed after something unusual has been seen on a mammogram. The procedure is simple and will be carried out by a health care professional.
They use a wand-like device which emits sound waves of a certain frequency. This device is called a transducer and the sound it emits is at a frequency far too high for us to hear. The sound waves bounce off the inner make-up of the breast and return a picture that the healthcare professional can use to see any anomalies.
There is no radiation involved – a common misbelief by many people – simply sound waves, making this a safe procedure that can be carried out on pregnant women. Now let us look at what the breast ultrasound is used for.
What Does a Breast Ultrasound Detect?
Contrary to popular belief the breast ultrasound is not normally performed as a screening test for breast cancer. This is because it is not a suitable procedure for picking up the early signs of breast cancer which include miniscule calcium deposits that cannot be seen using this method.
It is usually used to look for cysts and tumours that have shown up on a previous mammogram. It can also be used in conjunction with a device known as a Doppler probe. When attached to the transducer the probe enables the doctor to listen to the sounds of the blood flow in the breast. This is useful in instances where there may troublesome blockages within the breasts themselves.
Other uses for the breast ultrasound include checking the lymph nodes or aiding the guidance of a needle in a biopsy procedure. Should you have a breast ultrasound? That is what we want to talk about next.
When Should I Have a Breast Ultrasound?
The best advice we can give here is that you should consult your doctor when you feel soreness or anything untoward in the breasts. When performing your regular breast examination any unusual hardness or fresh lumps should also lead to seeking a diagnosis. Do not pass over any concerns as there are many problems that can occur in the breasts, all of which can be treated if caught early. Even if you have just the slightest feeling that something is not right you should see a doctor as it always better to err on the side of caution.
Are There Risks with a Breast Ultrasound?
Clinics that perform the simple and effective breast ultrasound procedure will be trained to provide top class medical treatment for all patients, and will be fully qualified and experienced in performing the procedure.
As we have already mentioned the [breast ultrasound uses sound waves and not a source of radiation as in the mammogram. This makes it a safe and effective routine for any woman who has concerns about her breasts. Given there is no surgery involved this is a completely safe medical routine without risk.
Should you have concerns about your breasts please get in touch with a doctor right away, and they will refer you if necessary to a clinic where you can undergo a breast ultrasound.