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Breast Cancer - "Other" Breast Imaging
By Dr. Natalie Furgiuele-Iracki

We have talked about breast mammography and it being the gold standard as far as breast cancer screening, but many times women will be asked to get other screenings such as a sonogram or MRI of the breast. Sonography, also known as ultrasound, of the breast is an imaging modality used to help determine if an area is solid or cystic i.e. "filled with fluid. We worry more about areas that are solid and less about areas that are primarily fluid, a simple cyst for example. It is obtained to better evaluate an area that is in question either on exam, “I feel something”, or an area seen on mammography or MRI. There is absolutely no radiation associated with sonography. This imaging is more "operator dependent" and it’s always nice to have the radiologist present at the time so the images can be reviewed right then and there. If you would like to go at a time when a radiologist is there, just asked when the test is being scheduled but realize this may require some flexibility on the part of the patient. The test is usually done with the patient in a comfortable lying position and requires the application of "jelly" or lubricant to the skin. The probe is gently passed over the skin of the breast and up into the armpit to examine the lymph nodes as well. Sometimes a targeted sonogram or a "second look" sonogram is done looking at specific area of the breast. Remember there is still no perfect x-ray and all x-rays have to be taken in light of the physical exam. We will talk about breast MRI next.
Dr. Natalie Furgiuele-Iracki, Breast Surgeon at Radiance Surgery Center, also operating at St. Clair, Mon Valley, UPMC South, and The Washington Hospital/Tri-State, can be reached at (412) 833-9722.

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