Breast Ultrasound Patient Information

Your doctor has requested an ultrasound of your breast or breasts. Ultrasound is a safe and painless procedure that uses sound waves to "see" inside your body. The scan can help examine any lumps or unusual findings you or your doctor may have found. Ultrasound is most suited to identify fluid-filled spaces such as cysts (cysts are masses that are definitely not cancer, as distinguished from other masses that may or may not be cancer). Ultrasound is also useful for examining both silicone and saline breast implants. At the Cedars-Sinai S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center we have an expert team of physicians, nurses and technologists who are highly trained in ultrasound imaging.

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • It is important that the imaging physician have any previous mammograms available for comparison when reading your current study. Please bring any previous mammogram films with you on the day of your exam.
  • It is suggested that you do not schedule your breast ultrasound one week before your menstrual cycle, as your breasts are usually very sensitive at this time.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • Although we try to keep waiting time to a minimum, please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

After Arriving

  • If you have not recently had any other test on your breasts performed at Cedars-Sinai, you will be asked to complete a Breast Imaging Questionnaire.
  • A technologist will review the questionnaire and will add other information as necessary.
  • The technologist will also explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.

During Your Exam

  • You will be asked to lie on your back on the examination table with your hands at your sides.
  • A warm gel, very similar to hair-styling gel, will be applied to your breast. The gel will help the sound waves to travel from the machine into your breast.
  • A transducer, a small device similar to a microphone, will be placed over your breast. This will be painless, although you may feel mild pressure from the transducer.
  • Sound waves will bounce off the different tissues in your breast. These waves will create "echoes." The echoes are reflected back to the transducer, which converts them to electronic signals. A computer then processes the signals into pictures and shows them on a television monitor.
  • These moving images may be viewed immediately or photographed for further study.
  • The images will be reviewed by an imaging physician, who may determine that additional images are necessary for a complete examination.
  • Your exam will take approximately 30 minutes.

After Your Exam

  • Your study will be reviewed by an imaging physician and the results sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.
  • If you have problems related to your procedure, please call 310-423-8000.