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

Sometimes the Radiologist may decide a breast biopsy is necessary. 

This involves injecting local anaesthetic into the breast before the introduction of a special needle designed to take small samples of breast tissue for analysis by a Pathologist. Biopsies can be  performed under ultrasound or X-ray guidance. Depending on the method used, this can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour.

Results following a biopsy usually take a week. An appointment will be made for you to return for the results by a Breast Care Nurse.