Breast Ultrasound

Detailed breast imaging

What Is Breast Ultrasound?

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of what's inside the body.

At Beth Israel Lahey Health Breast Center–Plymouth, we use ultrasound to get detailed images of breast tissue and lymph nodes in the arm pits. Your doctor may order an ultrasound to get more images after a mammogram or breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Ultrasound sends sound waves into your body. The waves bounce off tissues and are detected by the ultrasound machine. A computer turns the movement of the sound waves into pictures of the tissue. Our radiologists can spot abnormal tissue changes on the images.

What To Expect During a Breast Ultrasound

An ultrasound is a painless test. There is nothing you need to do to prepare.

When you arrive, a technician takes you to a private testing room where you'll change into a hospital gown.

During the Test

One of our board-certified ultrasonographers and a radiologist performs your ultrasound.

Here's what happens:

  • You lay down on a comfortable bed.
  • Your sonographer spreads a layer of warm gel over the breast tissue. The gel helps conduct the sound waves.
  • The sonographer moves the probe back and forth over the breast tissue.
  • Images are seen in black and white on a nearby screen.

This test can take between 30 minutes to one hour. How long it takes depends on the number of areas evaluated.

After the Test

The radiologist and your doctor review the ultrasound images. Some findings require a biopsy. If you need a biopsy, your doctor can perform it right away or during a follow up appointment.

If you take certain medicines or supplements, your doctor will schedule the biopsy for another day. Taking aspirin, aggrenox, coumadin, fish oil, NSAIDS (such as Advil, Indocin, Ibuprofen, Motrin or Naprosyn), Plavix or vitamin E, usually requires a scheduled biopsy.

Make an Appointment