This technology helps physicians determine if a breast lump is solid or filled with fluid.
Ultrasound is also helpful in guiding the physician when performing a breast biopsy and in finding breast abnormalities in women with dense breast tissue. Like breast MRI, it is not a replacement for mammography; it is a supplement, giving the physician more information to make a diagnosis.
When we need a sample of a breast abnormality (cyst, suspicious mass), we use imaging to assist in locating the abnormal area. To ensure accuracy, the doctor might use ultrasound to watch the needle on a screen as it moves toward and into the mass. Or the doctor may use a method called stereotactic needle biopsy to guide the needle.
During a stereotactic needle biopsy, computers map the exact location of the mass using mammograms taken from two angles.
Breast MRI is used in addition to mammography to evaluate the breast, lymph nodes, and surrounding muscle for breast cancer or abnormalities. If breast cancer is present, a breast MRI helps the physician determine its size and if it has impacted the surrounding lymph nodes or muscle. We also use breast MRI to evaluate lumpectomy sites, non-cancerous breast abnormalities, and implants, if needed.