An ultrasound is an exam that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasounds do not use radiation and can produce images in real-time. This allows physicians to see the inner workings of the body.
Breast ultrasound is sometimes used to evaluate breast problems that are found during a screening or diagnostic mammogram or on physical exam. Breast ultrasound is used to differentiate cystic from solid masses.
Annual screening with ultrasound in addition to mammography significantly improves the early detection of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue in and of itself has been shown by several studies to be an independent risk factor for the development of breast cancer. ACRIN studies have shown that adding breast ultrasound to mammography increased the absolute rate of detection of breast cancer from 50% to 78%.
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.