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Breast ultrasound: when to do it

Ultrasound mammography is prescribed as the initial visit for women under 40 years of age who have a family history of breast cancer, meaning they have had other cases of this disease in their family. In this case, an ultrasound is recommended annually starting at age 30.

Breast ultrasound is instead used as an adjunct method in women over 40 years of age. In this case, the ultrasound examination is guided by mammography, meaning it is prescribed based on what is highlighted in the mammography report, which remains the primary examination for individuals in this age group. From the age of 40, women are advised to undergo breast ultrasound and mammography annually for breast cancer prevention.

In the area dedicated to diagnostic imaging at MiniHospital “Sandro Pertini,” breast ultrasound is performed with state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring a quick examination and particularly accurate results. To make an appointment, you can write an email to info@minihospital.it or call our secretariat at +39 0587.609134.

What is breast ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is defined as a secondary examination used to evaluate the breast. It is recommended for women over 40 years old who undergo a mammography as a preliminary examination for preventive purposes regarding breast cancer. Breast ultrasound is performed only if the mammogram report shows an area of ​​different density that requires further ultrasound investigation. Like other types of ultrasound, it is essential that the machine used is of high quality and that the assigned professional has the necessary expertise and experience. This is because it is among the most complex to perform and “read.”

For breast ultrasound, the woman is made to lie supine with her arms raised and a small pillow under her shoulders to fully extend the trunk. At this point, with the help of the appropriate instrument, the specialist carefully examines the breast, one quadrant at a time. Breast ultrasound is a diagnostic examination based on ultrasound and is therefore absolutely painless and harmless.

What can be seen with breast ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is able to highlight the presence of nodular formations that require surgery or further specialized evaluation. The report of the investigation will report the size and characteristics of the margins of these formations, fundamental elements to evaluate their benign or malignant nature.

There is another application of breast ultrasound, related to the evaluation of axillary ducts. Many women have lymph nodes in the armpit, which in 90% of cases are nonspecific, meaning they are not related to malignant diseases, despite the analysis revealing an increase in size. The examination in question can therefore help reassure the patient. In the case of the presence of specific enlarged lymph nodes, the prognosis, and consequently the strategy, changes completely.

Breast ultrasound also allows the detection of benign pathologies, such as all cases of fibrocystic mastopathy (i.e., liquid cysts with fibrosis) benign solid nodules) and nodular formations with solid content, with regular margins and characteristics of absolute benignity such as fibroadenomas, lipomas, etc.

There are then a series of pathologies that cannot be highlighted with breast ultrasound, such as the onset of microcalcifications, which can be a sign of a tumor in a very early stage.

Why undergo breast ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is one of the examinations to undergo for breast cancer prevention. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer in women, considering that in Italy approximately one in eight women during her lifetime develops this pathology. It is a type of cancer that can affect women of all ages, but the most susceptible age group remains those between 50 and 69 years.

In recent years, the percentage of women contracting breast cancer has increased, fortunately, the mortality rate has decreased simultaneously, mainly thanks to the increasingly important role of prevention. Today, if diagnosed in the preclinical phase, breast cancer is curable in a high percentage (between 80 and 90% of cases). As already mentioned, for women under 40 years of age, breast ultrasound is the first visit to be carried out with the aim of identifying any nodular formations.

Breast ultrasound at MiniHospital

At MiniHospital “Sandro Pertini,” breast ultrasound is performed with a Philips Affiniti 50 ultrasound machine, which allows for rapid examinations with particularly accurate results.

To undergo breast ultrasound, booking is mandatory. To make an appointment, you can write an email to info@minihospital.it or call our secretariat at +39 0587.609134.

USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE EXAM:

  • It is advisable to bring any previously performed ultrasounds on the same body area.
  • It is advisable to bring any specialist visits undertaken.

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