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Breast Ultrasound Preparation (PDF)
For patient safety, patients exceeding the posted weight restrictions will not be done at London X-Ray Associates. The weight limit for all Ultrasound exams is 350 lbs.
Ultrasound uses sound, not x-rays, to produce images. A probe placed on the surface of the body sends a thin, high-frequency sound beam (above the range that humans can hear) into the body. The sound bounces off of structures within the body and back to the probe. A computer is able to construct images based on the time required for these echoes to return. Ultrasound of the breast takes about 15 - 30 minutes.
- Common Reasons for a Breast Ultrasound
Some of the more common reasons why your doctor would order breast ultrasound include:
- Lump or thickening in the breast
- Area of concern discovered on mammogram
Ultrasound best demonstrates the characteristics of a mass. Is it cystic (fluid) or solid? Does it have borders? Are the borders smooth or irregular? Doppler can also be performed to see if there is blood flow within a mass. Although most often breast ultrasound is performed on females, breast ultrasound can be performed on male patients.
- Who should not have an ultrasound of the breast?
Ultrasound is an extremely safe procedure and there are very few conditions that would prevent it from being performed. Since a probe must be placed in contact with the skin, ultrasound may not be possible in those with open sores or large open wounds over the area of interest.
- How do I prepare for the test?
There is no preparation required for a breast ultrasound.
- Who performs the examination?
An ultrasound technologist (a person trained to take ultrasound images) performs the examination. At London X-ray Associates, all of our technologists have met and maintain registration standards with the international governing body, American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
- What happens during the examination?
After registering with receptionist you will be asked to change into a gown, removing clothing from the waist up. You will be taken to the examination room, which contains an ultrasound machine and an examination table. You will be asked to lie on your back with the head of the bed elevated. You may be asked to roll slightly to the side, depending on the area of interest. The technologist will apply gel to your skin to improve contact with the probe. The technologist will move the probe in various positions across the area in question, taking ultrasound pictures. The technologist will show the pictures to the reporting radiologist before you leave the examination room. This allows the radiologist to review the ultrasound images, ensuring all areas have been investigated fully and that no more pictures are required. Occasionally, the radiologist may wish to come into the room and see the scanning firsthand or do supplemental scanning themselves. Having the doctor come into the room does not mean that there is a serious breast problem.
- What can I expect after the examination?
Ultrasound of breast has no after-effects and you should be able to return to activities of daily living.
- What are the risks of the procedure?
Ultrasound is an extremely safe procedure that does not expose the body to x-rays. Ultrasound transmits very small quantities of sound energy into the body but this produces no known harmful effects when standard techniques are used.
- Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
The results are interpreted by one of our radiologists (a doctor trained to interpret x-rays and other medical images) and the results are sent to the doctor who ordered the ultrasound by courier or fax.
Arrangements to discuss the results of the ultrasound can be made with the doctor who ordered the test.
- Are childcare (baby sitting) services available while I have my exam?
No childcare services are available. Please prearrange the following:
Adult supervision in the waiting room must be provided at all times for children while you, the caregiver, are having your exam completed. London X-Ray Associates staff will not be able to provide any childcare needs. We ask that all children be supervised by an adult, other than the patient, while at London X-Ray Associates.