A breast ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless, and safe way to examine the internal structure of the breast.
This procedure is a valuable tool in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and provide information to help guide treatment decisions.
In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect during a breast ultrasound at our private clinic, potential findings, and what happens after you get your results.
We understand that undergoing a breast scan can be an emotional experience, which is why our compassionate and highly trained specialists offer the care and support you need throughout the entire process.
Whether you have a family history of breast cancer or any other concerns, we are here to help you understand your options and guide you through the process.
What is a breast ultrasound?
A breast ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging procedure that utilises sound waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. It’s a non-invasive method of assessing the health of the breasts.
A private breast scan is performed by a specialist who applies a water-based gel to the skin and uses a handheld device called a transducer to send and receive harmless sound waves.
The sound waves are converted into images that can be viewed on a monitor.
The procedure typically takes around 30 minutes to complete and should not cause any pain or discomfort.
One of the main advantages of a breast ultrasound is that it can help identify small, benign, or malignant lumps that may not be visible on a mammogram.
It can also help distinguish between solid and fluid-filled abnormalities and provide important information about a lump’s size, shape, and location.
Breast ultrasound can also help the specialist guide a biopsy needle to a specific breast area for further testing if required.
Keep in mind that breast ultrasound results are not always conclusive. However, they can be a valuable tool in the early detection and diagnosis of breast conditions and offer crucial information to help guide your next steps and treatment decisions.
What to expect during your breast scan
Undergoing a private breast scan can be nerve-wracking, but our specialists are available to support you throughout the process.
During your ultrasound, our team member will first identify any potential risk factors that may affect your screening results.
These factors could include a family history of breast cancer, specific genetic mutations, or previous breast biopsies or surgeries.
Based on this information, they will advise you on the most appropriate tailored screening plan for you.
Next, you will undergo an ultrasound of the breasts. The scan will be performed by a Specialist Imaging Radiology Doctor who will explain what they are seeing and answer any questions you may have.
In addition to your breasts, our specialist will examine the lymph nodes in the armpits to check if they are enlarged or have any abnormalities.
Throughout the entire process, your healthcare provider is available to ease your concerns and address any issues.
They understand that a breast scan can be a scary experience and will do everything they can to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
What might you find in a breast ultrasound?
During a breast ultrasound, our specialists may come across a variety of findings:
- Benign lumps: This includes fibroadenoma, a solid tumour made up of glandular and fibrous tissue; simple cysts, fluid-filled sacs that are typically harmless; and epidermoid inclusion cysts or sebaceous cysts, small lumps generally found just under the skin.
- Cancer lumps: This includes any lump or mass that could be cancerous and requires further investigation, such as a biopsy.
- Infection: Common infections include mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue most common in breastfeeding people, and abscesses, a collection of pus within the breast tissue.
- Pregnancy abnormalities: This includes lactating adenoma, a benign tumour that forms during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and galactocele, a fluid-filled cyst that may develop during breastfeeding.
- Lumps with indeterminate cancer risk: This includes papilloma, a wart-like growth found in the breast ducts.
Not all lumps or abnormalities found during a breast ultrasound will be cancerous. Our specialists will work closely with you to discuss any potential findings and the next steps in your care.
What do the results look like?
When interpreting the results of a breast ultrasound, remember that it is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle.
Our specialists will use the information gathered during the ultrasound in combination with other tests, such as a mammogram or biopsy, to make a final diagnosis.
Ultrasound results can appear in either black and white or colour. The images produced by the ultrasound machine typically show different shades of grey, white, and black depending on the density of the tissue being examined.
Lumps or masses that appear as darker or solid areas on the image may be cancerous, while those that appear white may be benign.
Please keep in mind that not all breast cancers will appear as a lump or mass on an ultrasound image. In some cases, the tumour may be too small to see or may not produce any noticeable changes in the tissue.
For that reason, healthcare professionals often combine ultrasound results with other tests and examinations to make an accurate diagnosis.
Ultimately, interpreting the results of a breast ultrasound requires expertise and experience.
Our team are Specialist Doctors and are highly trained in translating these images and will work closely with you to provide a clear path forward.
What happens next?
After your ultrasound results have been shared with you, the specialist doctor will sit down with you and discuss the next steps.
They will take the time to explain your results in detail, addressing any questions or concerns you may have along the way. They will also advise on any further testing or follow-up appointments that may be necessary.
Following your appointment, your healthcare provider will formulate a report of the findings and share these with you via email.
Ultrasound plays a critical role in the diagnostic process, and your healthcare team will work with you to ensure the most appropriate course of action is taken.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious about the results of any medical test, but rest assured that our specialists will be by your side every step of the way.
They will make sure that you fully understand your options and what to expect moving forward, empowering you with the information you need to make educated and beneficial decisions about your health.
Schedule your breast scan
Breast ultrasounds are a safe and non-invasive way to assess the health of your breasts. The compassionate specialists at Harley Street Ultrasound will guide you through the process, from identifying any risk factors to tailoring the screening to your needs.
Remember, early detection is vital to successfully treating any breast condition.