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What is a breast ultrasound?

A breast ultrasound is a medical imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the breast tissue. It is a noninvasive and painless test that can help identify abnormalities in the breast, such as lumps or cysts, and determine whether they are cancerous or not.

During a breast ultrasound, a technologist applies a gel to the breast and uses a handheld transducer to create images of the breast tissue. The sound waves emitted by the transducer bounce off the breast tissue and are then converted into images that can be viewed on a computer screen.

Breast ultrasound is often used in conjunction with other imaging tests, such as mammography or breast MRI, to provide a more complete evaluation of the breast tissue. It is particularly useful in evaluating breast lumps that are not visible on mammography or that are difficult to distinguish from normal breast tissue. Breast ultrasound is also a valuable tool in guiding breast biopsy procedures. If a suspicious area is identified on the breast ultrasound, a radiologist may use the same transducer to guide a needle biopsy procedure to remove a small sample of tissue for further testing.

Breast ultrasound is considered safe and does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation, which is a risk associated with mammography. It is often used for women who are pregnant or who have dense breast tissue, as dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect abnormalities on a mammogram.

While breast ultrasound is a useful diagnostic tool, it is not as accurate as mammography in detecting breast cancer. Therefore, it is not typically used as a screening tool for breast cancer in women with average risk. However, it may be recommended in conjunction with mammography or breast MRI for women with certain risk factors for breast cancer.

In summary, breast ultrasound is a noninvasive and painless imaging test that uses sound waves to produce detailed images of the breast tissue. It is a valuable diagnostic tool in identifying breast abnormalities and guiding breast biopsy procedures. If you have any concerns about your breast health, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and recommendations.

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