It uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. It can show internal organs as well as blood flow, and as a result, ultrasound is used to look for any changes in organs and tissue.
The advantages of ultrasound
Ultrasound is used to look at the breast to identify any suspicious lumps. It enables radiologists to have a clearer picture of the soft tissue so they can work out what is going on in the breast more easily and distinguish potential breast tumours from harmless breast lumps, such as fat lobules or benign (non-cancerous) breast cysts.
It can help detect and classify problems that are not easy to identify using mammography alone, which is often the case in younger women who have dense breast tissue.
Because ultrasound imaging is in ‘real-time’ it helps with other diagnostic tests such as needle biopsies and fine needle aspirations.
What to expect at an ultrasound scan
To perform this, the consultant will place a gel on the relevant part of your skin and gently move a handheld scanner across that area to produce an image on a computer screen. You may be required to remove or loosen clothing to complete the scan.