A breast ultrasound can help doctors find cancers hidden in dense breast tissue. This safe, non-invasive test gives us the ability to see and pinpoint issues missed by a mammogram.
Breast Ultrasound at UVA
At UVA Health, we have the latest technologies for finding breast cancer. We perform two types of breast ultrasound. One is handheld, and the other is automatic. Both types give your doctor high-resolution ultrasound images.
The radiologists who look at your scans only focus on breast imaging. This high degree of specialization makes them experts. They have the experience and training to find cancer as early as possible.
Breast Ultrasound: Why, Who, & When
You might get a breast ultrasound if you:
- Have dense breast tissue
- Have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer
- Have a change in your breast a mammogram doesn't see
- Are at average risk
- Need to avoid radiation used in regular mammograms, because you're pregnant
- Have an allergy to the dye used in CEM
How Breast Ultrasound Works
Breast ultrasound screening is completely unlike a mammogram. Ultrasounds don't use X-rays that emit radiation. They use sound waves to produce images.
For automated 3D breast ultrasound, we put a padded, automatic scanner on your breast. It presses gently down to get images. A radiology technologist will ensure proper and complete breast coverage.
During handheld breast ultrasound, we'll move an ultrasound scanner across your breast.
Each exam takes about 20 minutes. You'll:
- Lay down, on your back, on an exam table
- Get a layer of lotion applied
- Not have any pain or need numbing
Getting Your Ultrasound Results
You'll get the results of your exam through MyChart and a letter. Sometimes, your provider will call you to talk about the scans and next steps.
Ask Your Provider About Breast Ultrasound
Breast ultrasound can find breast cancers that mammograms might miss. Ask your doctor about the screening best for you.