Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to evaluate the structures in the breast. The technology is powerful in detecting abnormalities, and is tremendously effective in conjunction with mammography for people with dense breasts. There is no radiation involved during this process. During the ultrasound, the technologist will ask you to lie on the exam table, with your arm above your head. Gel is applied to the breast and the sonographer applies gentle pressure, utilizing a wand-like device (also known as a transducer) to create images through sound waves. Typically six images of each breast are documented including the area behind the nipple and in the axilla. Sometimes the technologist may obtain additional images if cysts or other findings are noted. While there should be no discomfort, patients who do experience sensitivity should inform the technologist. We are here to help ease this process for every patient.

Screening Ultrasound

Screening ultrasounds are performed in women with dense breast tissue, which is determined by the mammogram.

Usually six images of each breast are documented including the area behind the nipple and in the axilla. Sometimes the technologist may obtain additional images if cysts or other findings are noted.

Sometimes a radiologist may come in to check a finding. This is routine. We are happy to provide immediate reads for all screening ultrasounds during the business hours (8 am – 4 pm). If you have any questions or you wish to speak with the radiologist at the time of your ultrasound exam, just inform the technologist.

Insurance Coverage for Ultrasound

  • Effective 1/1/2020, Connecticut law set a maximum of $20 for all out-of-pocket payments for ultrasound screening and requires insurance coverage for a baseline mammogram (2D or 3D) for women aged 35 to 39 years.
  • If there is a state insurance law, are all women covered? NO. A state insurance law does not necessarily apply to all policies within the state. Further, national insurance providers may be exempt from state laws.

NOTE: Check with your insurance company regarding details of your coverage.
For more information, read: The Health Insurance Breast Ultrasound Law in Connecticut →

Screening Ultrasound Results

Many patients schedule their screening mammograms at the time of their annual visit. We have digital mammography units with tomosynthesis at Candlewood and Physicians for Women so that you can easily schedule your appointments.

If the mammographic tissue is considered dense, you and your physician will be notified.  Once you have discussed supplemental screening with your physician, we encourage you to contact us for your screening ultrasound appointment.

We are happy to provide immediate reads for all screening ultrasounds during the business hours (8 am – 4 pm). If you have any questions or you wish to speak with the radiologist at the time of your ultrasound exam, just inform the technologist.

Diagnostic Ultrasound

A diagnostic ultrasound is performed to evaluate a specific part of your breast, to address a specific concern such as a lump or pain.

Also, if you have been recalled from a screening mammogram, sometimes additional imaging may include a diagnostic or targeted ultrasound.

During the diagnostic (also called limited or targeted) ultrasound, the technologist will again ask you to lie on the stretcher, with your arm above your head. Gel is applied to the breast and the sonographer applies gentle pressure, utilizing an ultrasound probe to evaluate a specific part of your breast.

The radiologist may come in to check a finding on ultrasound. After the ultrasound, the radiologist will discuss the findings with you and suggest appropriate recommendations.

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