Dr. Minna Sandell works as a radiologist at Aura Klinikka. You may book an appointment – with or without a referral – for ultrasound imaging of the breast, abdomen or neck.
Modern ultrasound devices provide detailed images and this has made ultrasound an important complementary method to mammography. Ultrasound may even be a substitute for mammography for breast imaging.
Breast ultrasound is a safe, fast and painless method for examining the breasts. Ultrasound does not expose the patient to radiation. Mammography requires compression of the breasts which is often perceived as painful. Breast compression is not done for sonography.
The doctor who is performing the ultrasound examination identifies deviations in the structure of the breast tissue – the result is immediately available for the patient. Cysts may feel as breast lumps and are a rather common finding. They are benign and easily identified by ultrasound. Ultrasound findings that imply malignancy (cancer) are also seen on mammography. Certainty of whether a finding is benign or malignant requires a needle biopsy taken under ultrasound guidance.
If the breast tissue is structurally dense – as is the case among young women and women taking hormones – a minor abnormal finding may go unnoticed on mammography. In this case, ultrasound is the primary imaging study. The situation is the same during the time that the infant is breast fed.
Only certain age groups are invited for municipally funded mammography screening, i.e., women aged 50–69 years in Turku who are mammographied every 2 years. If a woman does not fit the age criteria, breast ultrasound is advisable.
Ultrasound provides added certainty between the screening mammographies also for women who are screened. Women who have several relatives with breast cancer may have a risk for hereditary breast cancer. Breast ultrasound, which does not expose the person to radiation, is a means to examine the breasts in this setting, as well.
Abdominal ultrasound is a simple, swift and painless primary method for studying the organs of the abdominal cavity. The organs that are examined are the liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, pancreas, spleen and kidneys. The examination covers also the major vessels and the lymph nodes close by in the abdomen. If there is extra fluid in the abdominal cavity, it is identified by ultrasound.
Some of the pathological conditions that are identified with ultrasound include gall stones, tumors of the abdominal organs, cancer metastases, enlarged blood vessels and enlarged lymph nodes around the blood vessels.
It is advisable for the patient to fast for 6 hours before the abdominal ultrasound examination, because food and gut contents impair visibility and reduce precision of the examination. Water is allowed before the examination, and it is good if there is some urine in the bladder at the time when the examination is started.