An ultrasound is an excellent way to further evaluate breast abnormalities detected by mammography, breast self-exam (BSE) or your healthcare provider. However, sometimes it is not possible to tell from the imaging studies alone whether a questionable area is benign or cancerous.
Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a highly accurate way to evaluate suspicious masses within the breast that are visible by ultrasound.
This method can be indicated even if the questionable area cannot be felt during breast self-exam or by clinical examination.
Ultrasound uses sound waves at very high frequency to outline specific structures of the body. The echo of the waves produces a picture called an ultrasound.
Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body's internal organs. It is helpful to know that the terms "ultrasound" and "sonogram" are used interchangeably.
There are many ways to perform breast biopsies.
For many years, surgeons removed part or all of a suspicious breast mass through an incision made in the breast. With more recent advances in breast biopsies, other methods have been added.
An ultrasound-guided biopsy is just as it sounds - a biopsy performed by using ultrasound to locate the area in question. Unlike procedures that require the use of X-ray, ultrasound-guided biopsy requires no exposure to X-ray. This procedure is very useful when suspicious changes can be seen by mammogram and ultrasound, but no abnormality can be felt during an exam.
However, your healthcare provider may decide to use ultrasound guidance for a biopsy even when the mass can be felt. This type of biopsy is a minimally invasive way to obtain a sample of breast tissue for further diagnosis. It is also faster and less painful than traditional surgical biopsy. It is actually the preferred biopsy method of many physicians and patients.
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