Mammography and Breast Ultrasound

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breasts using specialist dedicated equipment which only requires a very low dose of x-rays to produce images of the breasts. Research has found that mammography is the most efficient tool in the early detection of breast cancer.

A Siemens Digital Mammography unit was installed at Ashford in July 2008. This equipment reduces the X-ray dose, and produces mammograms which are clearer and easier to read resulting in more accurate images. Using digital technology, the images are available within seconds, therefore reducing the length of time that the examination takes.

Your Appointment

When you arrive for your Mammogram, you will be asked to change in to a gown; the radiographer will then take you in to the room, and ask you some questions before performing the examination.

To obtain images of the highest quality, the breast tissue has to be compressed between 2 plates; this is for a few seconds only. This procedure is initially done in two different positions, but further views of a specific area of the breast tissue may be required.

Before you leave, the radiographer will check that the images show all of the breast tissue clearly. The results of your mammogram will be given to you at your next appointment in the Breast Clinic.

If you have had mammograms elsewhere, please bring them with you to your appointment.

Breast Ultrasound

Ultrasound (US) imaging of the breast produces an image of the internal structures of the breast. It is often used in the evaluation of lumps, nipple discharge, and breast pain. It is also used to characterize potential abnormalities seen on mammography.

Ultrasound can be used to determine if a lump is solid or fluid filled (cystic).

Breast ultrasound is performed by a radiologist (an x-ray doctor)

The procedure: The examination is usually completed in 10 15 minutes.

After the procedure you will be able to resume your normal activities.

The radiologist will usually discuss the result of the ultrasound with you at the end of the procedure. He/she will then send a typed report to your referring doctor.

Ultrasound guided procedures

When an ultrasound examination cannot characterize the nature of a breast abnormality the radiologist may choose to perform an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) or an ultrasound guided core biopsy: Both FNA and core biopsy are performed on an outpatient basis and may be performed at the time of the initial ultrasound or booked for a separate appointment.

If you are attending for a biopsy please inform your referring doctor and the radiologist if you are taking blood thinning medication (such as warfarin) as this may need to be stopped prior to the procedure.