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What is the role of breast ultrasound?

What is the role of breast ultrasound?

We can all agree that gathering additional information is helpful when we have to make an important decision. For radiologists, a breast ultrasound can do just that – provide additional information. Many women get scared or worried when the radiologist recommends a breast ultrasound but think of this as a tool to gather more information. Learn more about breast ultrasound from Dr. Susan Kennedy, one of our breast imaging radiologists.

The Role of Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound or sonography is used in conjunction with a patient’s mammogram to obtain a more in-depth look at a specific area in the breast such as a palpable lump, focal area of pain or focal abnormality seen on a screening mammogram. Breast ultrasound can help radiologists determine whether a mass seen on a mammogram is solid or cystic.

Mammography and breast ultrasound are complimentary tools. Ultrasound can help explain a mammogram’s findings, but should not be used in place of a screening mammogram because many breast cancers are only seen on a mammogram.

For example, breast cancer can present as just a small group of microcalcifications on a patient’s mammogram. These microcalcifications are not well visualized on ultrasound. It is true that mammograms are not able to detect 100% of all breast cancers, but it is still the most effective screening test for breast cancer that we have today. It should also be noted that a small percentage of breast cancers can only be seen on ultrasound and this is why ultrasound is used in conjunction with the patient’s mammogram and physical exam.

The quality of breast ultrasound is extremely important. In fact, it can make all the difference in detecting a breast cancer or not. The quality of breast ultrasound can vary greatly from facility to facility. The two most important factors in a obtaining a good quality breast ultrasound are:

  • The skill and experience of the technologist doing the exam
  • The quality of the ultrasound equipment

It doesn’t matter if you have a state of the art ultrasound machine if you have an inexperienced ultrasound technologist performing the exam. At Wake Radiology, all of our sonographers are certified by ​​The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography® (ARDMS®) and our facilities have state of the art equipment. .

Schedule Your Mammogram Today

We hope this gives you a better understanding of breast ultrasound. Remember, the first step to breast health is with a mammogram. If you have not had your annual screening mammogram, call our scheduling team at 919-232-4700 or request an appointment online now. We have 11 convenient mammography locations throughout the Triangle. Wake Radiology is also the area leader in 3D mammography with locations in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and Garner. If you’re interested in a 3D mammogram, please ask for more information when scheduling your appointment.

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