Breast ultrasound is a non-invasive tool used to evaluate specific, often palpable areas of concern - such as a breast lump felt by a patient or physician and an area of concern seen on a mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not replace the need for mammography. Mammogram images are still needed to evaluate the entire breast. An ultrasound examination produces images of your breast using inaudible sound waves in a frequency range far above the range of human hearing.
Your exam will be performed by a mammography-certified, female technologist at one of our diagnostic breast center locations. After you check in, you will be escorted to a private dressing room, where you will be asked to undress from the waist up. You will be given a gown that opens in the front. The technologist will ask you several questions, so she can better understand your history and/or any problems you may be having.
An ultrasound is most often performed in conjunction with a diagnostic mammogram. During your ultrasound procedure, the technologist will ask you to lie down on a table and position you appropriately. She will then apply a hypoallergenic, water-soluble gel to your breast to prevent air from getting between the ultrasound source and your skin. A small probe will be passed over the surface of your breast, producing a painless sensation of light pressure on your skin. A picture of the breast tissue will be seen on the ultrasound screen.
A breast ultrasound test usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. More time may be needed if a physical breast exam is needed or if a biopsy is planned. A physician specialized in breast imaging will review your images and may also want to obtain more ultrasound views of some areas of your breast.
Our diagnostic breast centers are staffed by a radiologist, who is a doctor focused solely on mammography and the accurate detection of breast cancer. At the time of your visit, the radiologist will review your exam results with you and explain any further recommendations. Your primary care physician will receive the results of your exam within 24-48 hours of your visit.
If you have had a previous mammogram at a facility other than Charlotte Radiology, please let us know so that we may obtain these films. It is extremely important for the radiologist to have your prior films for comparison, as it enhances the doctor's ability to detect a subtle change or small abnormality on your current mammogram. Availability of prior films at your appointment also decreases the length of time it takes for you to get your results.