Ultrasounds are used to help diagnose or treat common breast and gynecological health issues. Abnormal uterine bleeding, cysts, tumors, fibroids and pelvic pain are all conditions that can be diagnosed and evaluated through pelvic ultrasound imaging. It’s also useful when looking for unknown causes of pelvic pain or abnormal bleeding, diagnosing fertility problems, and locating an IUD for removal.
Breast ultrasound is a widely used adjuvant to mammography for the detection of breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. Along with 3D mammogram, breast ultrasound is an ideal screening for early detection, especially for people with dense breast tissue.
A doctor may schedule a breast ultrasound after discovering a lump in the breast tissue during a routine physical examination or mammogram.
They may also request a breast ultrasound for:
- Assessing unusual nipple discharge
- Evaluating cases of mastitis, which is the inflammation of the mammary tissues
- Assessing symptoms, such as breast pain, redness, and swelling
- Examining skin changes, such as discoloration
- Monitoring existing benign breast lumps
- Verifying the results of other imaging tests, such as an MRI scan or a mammogram
Prior to your scheduled breast ultrasound:
- People should avoid applying any lotions or powders to their skin before the test, as these may decrease the accuracy of ultrasound images.
- Having any form of metal on the body can also interfere with the test results, so it is important to avoid wearing jewelry or a watch.
- Wearing separate items of clothing on the top and bottom instead of a dress or one-piece outfit often makes it easier to avoid removing all clothing. For some people, choosing a button up or zippered shirt might also make the undressing process more comfortable.
Indications for pelvic sonography include but are not limited to the following:
- Pelvic pain
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menses)
- Menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding)
- Metrorrhagia (irregular uterine bleeding)
- Menometrorrhagia (excessive irregular bleeding)
- Follow‐up of a previously detected abnormality
- Evaluation, monitoring, and/or treatment of infertility patients
- Delayed menses, precocious puberty, or vaginal bleeding in a prepubertal child
- Postmenopausal bleeding
- Abnormal or technically limited pelvic examination
- Signs or symptoms of pelvic infection
- Further characterization of a pelvic abnormality noted on another imaging study
- Evaluation of congenital anomalies
- Excessive bleeding, pain, or signs of infection after pelvic surgery, delivery, or abortion
- Localization of a intrauterine contraceptive device
- Screening for malignancy in patients at increased risk
- Urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse
- Guidance for interventional or surgical procedures