Ultrasounds are more specific and detailed compared to mammograms because they reach parts of the breast tissue unable to be seen on mammograms. The procedure involves using a miniature handheld ultrasound probe, also known as a transducer, which generates sound waves and releases images of breast tissue and any abnormalities are detected.
This procedure is non-invasive and painless. If any abnormality is detected i.e. a breast lump, the specialist will request a biopsy is performed to rule out cancer. Typically, a mammogram is used later in life when the breast tissue is thinner and there is higher incidence of cancer.
Ultrasound is more specific and detailed diagnostic test compared to a mammogram. This is because it can show portions of your breast i.e. closest area to the chest wall that is hard to image with a mammogram. There is no radiation involved.
Before the procedure, your medical history will be required. The doctor will ask if there is a family member who has had breast issues. You will also be asked for past issues with your breasts including any surgical procedures, i.e. breast implant or following hormone therapy. You will also be asked if you have breastfed any babies.
Your examination should be scheduled the week after your menstrual period. Not before or during as the breasts might be tender. Avoid powder and/or deodorant on breasts or underarms the day of the examination. You will also be asked to take off any jewellary as it can affect the quality of the result.
Please bring previous mammograms or other imaging reports when you come to your appointment with the specialist. It is an important tool for your doctor to use to compare the results. If you are unable to get the reports, we can request those for you. Simply sign a release letter when you come and our doctor will request them on your behalf. He/she will need to wait to read these prior to your appointment which that can take up to two weeks.
Mammograms can be uncomfortable and occasionally painful. However the procedure is relatively quick. Two glass plates slowly press the breast tissue that allows for a detail image to be taken. Two pictures are taken of every breast at diverse angles.