- breast sonogram
Who is a candidate for the test?
- clarify an abnormal finding from a mammogram
- determine whether a lump in the breast is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor
- pinpoint a lump that cannot be felt so that fluid can be drawn out of it or a tissue sample can be taken
- a pregnant woman whose unborn child could be harmed by the radiation of a mammogram
- a woman who refuses a mammogram due to fear of radiation
- a woman whose silicone breast implants may interfere with a mammogram
- a woman younger than 25 years, because younger women often have dense breast tissue that is difficult to see clearly on a mammogram
How is the test performed?
- The woman lies on her stomach on a special exam table. Set into part of the table is a tank of heated water. The woman places her breast into the water. The person performing the test places a scanning tool that sends out sound waves at the bottom of the tank.
- OR: The woman lies on her back. The healthcare professional puts a small portion of gel on the woman's breast. This gel helps transmit sound waves. Next, the examiner takes a scanning tool that sends out sound waves and moves it around on the breast.
What is involved in preparation for the test?
What do the test results mean?
- a benign cyst, which means the lump or mass is not cancer
- an abscess, or pus-filled pocket, in the breast
- breast cancer, which can only be diagnosed for certain if a needle was used to sample a piece of the breast tissue
- a bruise
- fibrocystic breast disease, which causes benign lumps in the breast
- other benign tumors, such as adenomas
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. "Ultrasound-General Information" Last updated 3/23/00.
Anderson KN, Anderson LE, Glanze WD. Mosby's medical, nursing, and allied health dictionary, 5th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1998.
Miller BF, Keane, CB. Encyclopedia and dictionary of medicine, nursing, and allied health, 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: WB Saunders Company, 1987.
Pagana KD and Pagana T. Mosby's manual of diagnostic and laboratory tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 1998.