Ask the Doctor: What’s a Breast Ultrasound?

Ask the Doctor with Dr. Jacqueline Napoletano, MD

Breast Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves. The sound waves travel through tissues (in the breast that is fibroglandular, fat, cysts, and tumors) and bounce off boundaries to produce an image. Ultrasound does not use radiation.

Ultrasound is an adjunctive test, used in addition to mammography, not a replacement for mammography.


Indications for breast ultrasound include: 

  1. Characterization of masses as a cyst or solid mass. 
  2. Characterization of solid masses for low or high probability of malignancy.
  3. Evaluation of a palpable finding (breast lump).
  4. Evaluation of a breast density or mammographic finding. 
  5. Evaluation of nipple discharge.
  6. To guide in breast biopsies.
  7. Potential use in screening in dense breast following a mammogram. 

About Dr. Napoletano

Dr. Napoletano received her Doctor of Medicine in 1989 from the Temple University School of Medicine. She currently serves as a Diagnostic Radiologist and Director of Breast Imaging at the Breast Center at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, Christiana Care Health System. She is a Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) Board Member and sits on the advisory committee for the Christiana Care Health System Center of Excellence for Women.

2 thoughts on “Ask the Doctor: What’s a Breast Ultrasound?

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