About Breast Ultrasound
Ultrasound, also called sonography, is an exam that uses sound waves to obtain images of the inside of the body.
These high-frequency sound waves are far above the range of human hearing. Sound waves are aimed at a particular area of the body. The different body tissues reflect the waves back in varying degrees. The echoed waves are recorded and displayed as a continuous real-time image on a computer monitor.
Ultrasound relies on sound waves rather than radiation to produce images, so it is ideal in many settings. This imaging technique is becoming increasingly important in the diagnosis of medical conditions in many different organs and tissue, including the breasts.
Breast ultrasound may be used to further examine an abnormality seen on a mammogram or a lump felt by you or your physician. Breast ultrasound may also be used in addition to or instead of mammography for breast cancer screening in certain circumstances. Your health provider will determine if you would benefit from a breast ultrasound.
Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU)
Invision Sally Jobe is proud to be among the first diagnostic imaging networks in the United States to offer a new form of breast ultrasound for cancer screening. This FDA-cleared technology can be used in addition to mammography and is ideal for women who:
- Have dense breast tissue (approximately 40% of all women)
- Have breast implants
- Have a family history of breast cancer or a previous breast biopsy showing pre-cancer or cancer
- Are pregnant, may be pregnant, or nursing
- Have lumpy or fibrocystic breasts
Studies have shown that some cancers can be missed with mammography in women with dense breasts. Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU), when added to an annual mammogram, may find more small cancers than mammography alone. Unlike other breast ultrasound exams, SBU is intended to scan the entire breast, not just specific regions.
Risks Involved in a Breast Ultrasound
No radiation is used in this examination and there are no known health risks.
Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation
Please note that not all centers that provide breast ultrasound can also provide screening breast ultrasound.
Contact your personal physician for a referral for this exam. Then call 720-493-3700 to schedule.
Breast ultrasound exams (for screening or diagnostic reasons) are usually covered by insurance when ordered by a physician. Check with your insurance company to be sure. Please bring your insurance card with you to your exam.
Conditions to Let Us Know About
There are no conditions that you need to report prior to this exam.
You do not need to do anything in particular to prepare for a breast ultrasound.
What to Expect
During the Exam
Here is generally what will happen during a breast ultrasound:
- You may be asked to partially disrobe and put on a gown. You may use a secure locker for your personal items during your exam.
- The sonographer will explain the procedure and answer any questions you have.
- The sonographer will apply a clear, warm gel to the skin. This gel helps the sound waves penetrate into your body.
- The sonographer will move the transducer (a handheld device that produces and records sound waves) across the area to be imaged while watching a continuous image on a computer screen. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure, but you may feel some mild discomfort.
- The sonographer will help you remove any remaining gel.
- You will change back into your clothes.
The sonographer may leave the room to show images to a radiologist. The radiologist may come in during the exam to watch the ultrasound or perform part of the exam personally.
A breast ultrasound exam takes approximately 30 minutes. A screening breast ultrasound may take longer than 30 minutes.
After the Exam
You can return to your normal activities immediately after your breast ultrasound exam.
A board-certified radiologist experienced in the interpretation of breast ultrasounds will analyze the data and results from your exam. The results will be reported to your physician. Your physician will pass the results onto you.
During the exam, our radiologists and technologists will be happy to answer questions about the exam itself; however, they will not immediately provide you with the results of your exam.