With a breast ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves create a computer image. Unlike a mammogram, ultrasound images are created by sound. They can be seen in real time and captured as still images.
Before the procedure begins, warm gel is applied to your skin. Next, the transducer (a probe that sends and receives ultrasound signals) is moved over the area, emitting sound waves and picking up echoes when they rebound. A computer converts these echoes and creates an image from them. The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a nearby monitor.
Ultrasound images help healthcare providers distinguish between cysts, or fluid-filled areas, and solid masses. An ultrasound is often used to target a specific area of concern found on a mammogram.