Breast ultrasound involves transmitting high-frequency sound waves to the breast surface and recording the echoing waves. The images so formed indicate the structure of the breast tissue, be it dense tissue, breast cysts filled with fluid or tumors. Breast ultrasound is not used in regular screenings for breast cancer. It is typically undertaken when breast tissue is very dense or to determine the condition of a suspicious lump that has been noticed on a clinical breast examination or a mammogram. It is a tool to evaluate breast implant leak or rupture.
Breast ultrasound is done by bouncing high frequency sound waves off breast tissue. The resultant echoes are recorded in video or photographic images. Breast ultrasound is useful in gaining clearer insight into determining whether a suspicious lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass. In breasts with larger amount of glandular tissue and less fat, mammography may not be able to detect breast cancer early.
Breast ultrasound is not routinely considered for breast cancer screening. It is in fact used for investigation, in cases where there is a need for clearer imaging after a mammogram. It is also recommended in case a lump is felt on clinical breast exam. Breast ultrasound is non-invasive and does not make use of ionizing radiation. Soft tissues and dense tissues can be better examined with breast ultrasound rather than x-rays. Often benign cysts and fat lobules can be detected during a breast ultrasound.
Breast ultrasound is a good tool to investigate breast abnormalities in pregnant women since there is no radiation used. Breast ultrasound study hinges on the skill of the radiologist performing it. The procedure usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It does not require any compression of the breast.
Breast Cysts are fluid filled sacs that are common in women in the age group of 40 - 60 years. Cysts move easily to the touch and are hard and round. They are not attached to the breast tissue around them. Cysts are known to recur in some of the cases. Some women get cysts several times during their life, usually between the ages of 25 and 45. Breast Cysts become tender just before a menstrual period. Breast Cysts constitute nearly 15% of all discrete breast masses.
The breast ultrasound is the most sensitive and accurate tool for diagnosing Breast Cysts. Once cysts are detected in the breast, the doctor will confirm the nature of the lump with Triple Diagnosis method -- combination of Clinical Breast Examination, Mammogram and Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy. A specialist draws out the fluid collected within the cyst with a fine needle and syringe. When traces of blood are noticed in the fluid that is drawn from the Breast Cyst, it must be sent to the laboratory for analysis. Normal cystic fluid is yellow, gray or green. If no fluid is obtained from the lump, it has to be investigated further. The possibility of intra-cystic carcinoma has to checked for. A biopsy might also be done on the breast mass. While benign cysts are round or oval, malignant ones are irregularly shaped and display micro-nodular groups of fluid collection.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 16, 2017