Dr Monica Pahuja*

What are the prerequisites for having a breast ultrasound done?

Breast ultrasound is useful in the following clinical situations:

  • Evaluation of a palpable lump(s) in the breast.
  • Evaluation of breast symptoms in young women (in whom mammography is less useful due to the density of their breast tissue).
  • Evaluation of a mass detected on a mammogram, allowing the mass to be characterised as solid or cystic.
  • Localisation of mass lesions detected by MRI screening, enabling them to be biopsied or localised prior to surgery using ultrasound rather than MRI.
  • As an adjunct to evaluation of the mammographically dense breast even when no focal lesion is seen on the mammogram.

What are the absolute contraindications for a breast ultrasound?

There are no absolute contraindications.

What are the relative contraindications for a breast ultrasound?

There are no medical contraindications, but some patients may feel uncomfortable about the procedure unless they are chaperoned appropriately.

What are the adverse effects of a breast ultrasound?

There are no adverse effects of a breast ultrasound.

Are there alternative imaging tests, interventions or surgical procedures to a breast ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is often complementary to other breast imaging as a problem solving and biopsy guidance tool (see prerequisites, above).

Useful websites about breast ultrasound:

Cancer Australia – Breast Cancer
www.canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/breast-cancer

*The author has no conflict of interest with this topic.

Page last modified on 6/6/2017.

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