Breast Imaging as part of the Breast Care Clinic

The Breast Clinic

When you attend for your appointment with the breast care team, and after your assessment with your breast physician / surgeon, most patients are asked to go for breast imaging.  This may involve a mammogram, a breast ultrasound or both.  We will endeavour to do these examinations as part of your outpatient appointment, but in some cases this will not be possible and you will be sent a further appointment to do these tests.

After imaging, the majority of patients return to the breast clinic to get their imaging results before leaving the hospital.


A mammogram

This is a (low-dose) X-ray examination of the breast.  It involves compression of the breast tissue between two plates and lasts for a few seconds.  It is important for two images per breast to be taken, as this provides more accurate results.  Patients can find mammography uncomfortable.



Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound

This is similar to the ultrasound used for pregnant women.  It is a painless examination of the breast using sound waves.  The examination is performed while you are lying down.  Some jelly is applied to the skin and a probe is passed over the breast to produce a picture on the screen.

If patients would like to take a family member or friend into the ultrasound room with them, they are welcome to do so.



Needle or Core Biopsy

Breast biopsy using X-ray control. This is usually done with the patient laying down.

Sometimes the Radiologist may decide a breast biopsy is necessary.

This involves injecting local anaesthetic into the breast and the introduction of a special needle designed to take a small sample of tissue for analysis by a pathologist.  Depending on the method used, this can take 10-30 minutes.


The majority of breast biopsies are performed using ultrasound for guidance.  Occasionally patients will need a breast biopsy using mammographic guidance.

Should it be necessary to perform a needle/core biopsy, it will take a week for the pathologist to process the test.  An appointment will be made for you to return for the result, usually the following week.