An ultrasound scan is the most appropriate method for determining the type of palpable breast masses in women less than 40 years of age, as the breast structure is denser and thus more difficult to scan with mammography.
Breast ultrasound is also useful for the clarification of abnormalities on mammograms and in the characterization of palpable breast masses when a mammography image is negative or unclear.
As no ionizing radiation is present at an ultrasound scan and the scan can be repeated for an unlimited number of times, we recommend it to pregnant and younger women.
The method is very precise in the differentiation of cysts from solid formations and very precise in the differentiation of glands from other changes. It is less precise in the detection of microcalcinations.
What is important is that it is carried out by a specialised radiologist.
After 40 and especially 50 years of age, the breast structure is less dense and easier to scan with mammography. At this age, ultrasound is helpful as a supplementary method, which cannot, however, replace mammography.
Preparation for examination
No particular preparations for the examination are needed. If the woman who decides to take a breast ultrasound scan has any mammograms or ultrasound results or images, she should bring them for comparison.
The patient examined strips to her waist and lies on her hip or back, usually with lifted arms.
The duration of the examination is 20 to 30 minutes.