Breast ultrasound

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Breast ultrasound
Cancer ultrasound image

Breast ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses medical ultrasonography to perform imaging of the breast. It can be performed for either diagnostic or screening purposes[1] and can be used with or without a mammogram.[2] In particular, breast ultrasound may be useful for younger women who have denser fibrous breast tissue that may make mammograms more challenging to interpret.[3][4]

Automated whole-breast ultrasound (AWBU) is a technique that produces volumetric images of the breast and is largely independent of operator skill. It utilizes high-frequency ultrasound to help perform a diagnostic evaluation of the lactiferous ducts (duct sonography)[5] and make dilated ducts and intraductal masses visible. Galactography is another technique that can be used to visualize the system of lactiferous ducts and allows a wider area to be visualized.[6]

Elastography is a type of ultrasound examination that measures tissue stiffness and can be used to detect tumours.[7] Breast ultrasound is also used to perform fine-needle aspiration biopsy and ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of breast abscesses.[8]

Women may prefer breast ultrasound over mammography because it is a painless procedure and does not involve the discomfort of breast compression present in mammograms.

Breast ultrasound is typically performed using a frequency of 7 to 14 Megahertz, and may also include ultrasound of the axillary tail of the breast and axillae to detect abnormal nodes in the axilla, as lymphatic drainage of parts of the breast occurs through axillary lymph nodes.


  1. ^ A. Thomas Stavros; Cynthia L. Rapp; Steve H. Parker (1 January 2004). Breast ultrasound. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0-397-51624-7. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Breast ultrasound". MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2023-03-09.
  3. ^ "FDA approves first breast ultrasound imaging system for dense breast tissue". Food and Drug Administration. 18 Sep 2012.
  4. ^ Gordon, Paula; Goldenberg, Larry (15 August 1995). "Malignant breast masses detected only by ultrasound. A retrospective review". Cancer. 76 (4) – via Wiley.
  5. ^ Sylvia Helen Heywang-Koebrunner; Ingrid Schreer (15 January 2014). Diagnostic Breast Imaging: Mammography, Sonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Interventional Procedures. Thieme. p. 199. ISBN 978-3-13-150411-1.
  6. ^ Kelly K. Hunt (1 January 2001). Breast Cancer. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-387-95190-4.
  7. ^ S, Imtiaz (2018-03-08). "Breast elastography: A new paradigm in diagnostic breast imaging". Applied Radiology. Retrieved 2023-03-09.
  8. ^ Trop I, Dugas A, David J, El Khoury M, Boileau JF, Larouche N, Lalonde L (October 2011). "Breast abscesses: evidence-based algorithms for diagnosis, management, and follow-up". Radiographics (review). 31 (6): 1683–99. doi:10.1148/rg.316115521. PMID 21997989.