Ultrasound of the breast

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Ultrasound of the breast  is a painless procedure that uses sound waves to view and produce a picture of the breast tissue. The outcome of the test is called a sonogram. Ultrasound of the breast, unlike mammogram, does not use X-rays or other types of radiation and thus it is a safe diagnostic tool used to evaluate abnormalities of the breast seen on a mammogram. The examination is carried out by a consultant radiologist usually in the main x-ray department of the hospital. He will send a written report to the requesting doctor. (either the breast surgeon, the oncologist or your family doctor) It is usually performed in a slightly darkened room.

What happens when ultrasound is performed?

There are no special preparation for the test. It is advisable to wear two-piece outfit as you will be asked to take off your clothes on the upper part of your body. During the test you will lie on a padded examining table. The radiologist will apply a clear gel onto your breasts, and will then gently move a specially designed sensor over the breast. A black and white image will be visible on the screen, copies will be taken of these images and the radiologist will evaluate these pictures and write his report. When the investigation is over, the gel wipes easily away. The test takes approximately ten minutes.

The  may be carried out at the same appointment as a mammogram, but it may be the only investigation. The radiologist will decide which is the best investigation for you.

Who will arrange my appointment?

When the test is requested by a doctor, the x-ray department will contact you with an appointment time. Some patients have an ultrasonography on the same day as they see the breast surgeon, but this is not possible for all patients.

When do patient generally the results? 

This will depend on various factors. If you are seeing the breast surgeon on the same day, the written report may be put into an envelope for you to take to the surgeon and he will discuss the results with you. For the majority of patients, the report is sent on to the requesting doctor. If your ultrasound has been requested by your family doctor, you will be advised how soon you can contact him for the result. It is not possible to telephone the x-ray department for your results.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

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