Breast Ultrasound Screening for Breast Cancer

The Center for Women's Imaging at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The doctors of The Tyanna O’Brien Center for Women’s Imaging at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland offer a variety of screenings for breast cancer including breast ultrasound. Our doctors work collaboratively with the breast surgeons of The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy to provide comprehensive care for women.

What is a Breast Ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is performed using sound waves to produce an image (no radiation exposure). This non-invasive, painless test is most often ordered because it gives a more detailed picture of the breast and helps your doctor to make a more accurate diagnosis. Pictures are taken of the breast in real time, while showing blood flow and movement. This type of picture can assist in the diagnosis of cancers, cysts, calcifications and other conditions.

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Who should get a Breast Ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is most typically performed as a supplemental exam to mammography. Ultrasound of the breast is not usually performed for screening purposes (for patients who have no symptoms). This is because it is a very operator-dependent exam, not easily reproducible from year to year and has a high false positive rate when used for screening.

In our practice breast ultrasound is currently used for screening patients who have been designated as “high-risk,” meaning they require additional screening beyond mammography but are unable to undergo breast MRI because of conditions including a pacemaker, severe obesity and severe claustrophobia.

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How is a Breast Ultrasound performed?

Breast ultrasound is typically performed by a technologist who has been specially trained. A gel substance is placed on the skin of the breast and a small probe is rubbed over the breast to obtain the images. The images are always checked by the interpreting radiologist who typically also examines the patient with ultrasound. The findings are discussed directly with you at the time of your appointment and you will be given results in writing as well.