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Reviewed by Danielle Nixon (Radiology Manager) and Lisa Serevena (Quality Lead Diagnostic Radiology)

A breast ultrasound is used to investigate breast lumps or other abnormalities.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a scan used to monitor and diagnose conditions in various parts of the body, without the use of radiation. An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the interior of the body.

How will I know if I need a breast ultrasound?

Your healthcare professional or consultant may refer you for a breast ultrasound to investigate breast lumps or other abnormalities. An ultrasound may be the most suitable scan option for people under the age of 40, those with dense tissue, or who may be pregnant. For individuals over the age of 40, an ultrasound is often used in conjunction with a mammogram.

How can I book a breast ultrasound?

To book an ultrasound, you will need a referral from a breast clinician. If you have an outpatient consultation with a Nuffield Health consultant, they will refer you for a scan if clinically appropriate. If you have received a referral from an external breast consultant, just email your referral to your chosen Nuffield Health hospital and a member of the team will call you back.

How should I prepare for a breast ultrasound?

There are no specific preparation instructions for a breast ultrasound. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove your clothing and jewellery for the scan. Everything will be explained to you before the examination begins.

What happens during a breast ultrasound? 

You will be asked to lie on your back, a clear, cool gel is spread on the area to be scanned, and the probe is moved back and forth. The soundwaves bounce off internal organs and are passed back through the probe to a computer. The computer turns these soundwaves into highly detailed images in real-time, shown on the monitor.

How long does a breast ultrasound take?

A breast ultrasound usually takes no more than 15 minutes. You will be able to leave the hospital straight after your appointment.

How/when will I receive my results?

Your results will be verified by a Radiologist and sent to your referring healthcare professional/consultant within a week of your appointment. Times may vary for specialist examinations, so we recommend checking with the hospital team before you leave. Your referrer may recommend a follow-up appointment to discuss your results.

Click here for other types of ultrasound scanning

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