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Breast Imaging

At SGH Breast Imaging, specialized medical imaging is used to aid in early detection and diagnosis for breast diseases. We have a dedicated multidisciplinary team offering the advances in digital mammography, breast tomosynthesis, breast ultrasound (with elastography and automated volume breast scanner) and other breast interventional procedures.
 
Examples of some scans performed in SGH include:

  • Mammography, Tomosynthesis
    Mammography is a specialised medical imaging that uses low-dose x-ray to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases. Highly advanced mammography equipment with cutting-age technology is used to perform the imaging procedure. We capitalize on full-field digital mammography (FFDM) technology to generate breast images with a much lower radiation dose. We are also equipped with Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems to search and highlight on digitized mammographic images for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate presence of breast diseases. The 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) increases breast cancer detection; decreases recall rate and aids in identifying size, shape and location of the breast abnormalities.  We also offer tomosynthesis guided vacuum assisted biopsy procedures which allow greater accuracy when targeting a lesion for biopsy within a shorter procedural time. It enables performing biopsy of a lesion best shown on tomosynthesis and not conventional mammogram.
  • Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM)
    CESM is one of the newest breast imaging procedure that combines the benefits of digital mammography with the concept of tumor angiogenesis.  This allows evaluation and characterization of breast lesions that has abnormal contrast uptake with injection of intravenous contrast.
  • Breast Elastography
    Breast ultrasound elastography is an analytical advanced tool that utilizes either strain or shear-wave technology to quantify the tissue stiffness.  The elastography features can further characterize breast lesions and has the potential to improve the specificity and sensitivity of the lesion evaluation with conventional ultrasound.  
  • MRI Guided Breast Biopsy
    Breast biopsy is a procedure to remove tissue from suspicious region within the breast for analysis.  A specially trained radiologist can perform this procedure under guidance of MRI.  This makes the procedure minimally invasive and ensures that the sample is accurately taken from the suspicious area.

Things to note on day of appointment

Please refer to the Patient Preparation page for more information

How to prepare for a Mammography and Ultrasound Breast examination

Please refer to the Patient Preparation page for more information.

What happens during a Mammography examination?

The area of the body to be examined will be uncovered.
You will be asked to stand in front of the X-ray machine and the radiographer will place one of your breasts on a platform. The platform will be raised/lowered to match your height. The radiographer will help to position your head, arm and torso to allow an unobstructed view of your breast.
Your breast is gradually compressed against the platform by a clear plastic plate. Pressure is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue and allow the X-ray to penetrate the breast tissue. You may feel some discomfort during this process.
Compression of the breast is necessary as it evens out the breast thickness so that all the tissue can be visualized and spreads out the tissue so that small abnormalities are not obscured by overlying breast tissue.

A typical mammography examination will take approximately 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

What happens during an Ultrasound examination?

You will be asked to lie down on the examination couch and the area of the body to be examined will be uncovered. A thick water soluble gel will be applied over the area under examination. The gel will feel slightly warm to touch.
The radiographer will place the Ultrasound probe over the gel and will move the probe over the area under examination. Instructions (such as turning to one side or holding your breath for a few seconds) will be given during the scan so that the Radiographer can achieve the clearest images.
Throughout the procedure, the room lights will be dimmed in order for the Radiographer to visualize the images on the monitor properly.
Upon completion of examination, the gel is wiped off and you will be able to leave the Department.
Ultrasound is usually painless. However, you may experience mild discomfort when the Radiographer is guiding the Ultrasound probe over your body, especially if you are required to have a full bladder, or inserts it into your body.

A typical ultrasound exam will take approximately 30 minutes to an hour.

What happens after a Mammography / Ultrasound examination?

There is typically no special care required. You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after a Mammogram or Breast Ultrasound.

For specialised procedures, such as breast biopsy, post-procedural instructions will be given by the Radiographer/Radiologist on the day of exam.

Our radiologists will read and report your scan images. A report will then be sent to your referring clinician electronically, who will then discuss the scan results with you at your next appointment in the clinic.

What are the possible risk and limitations for a Mammography / Ultrasound examination?

For the mammogram examination, with the use of modern imaging equipment, the amount of radiation delivered to the breast is very low. The use of compression further decreased the amount of radiation that you may be exposed to.

Mammograms in younger women can be difficult to interpret as they contain more glands and ligaments, resulting in dense breast tissues that can obscure signs of cancer. Additional imaging (such as Ultrasound) may be needed if further clarification is required.

For the Ultrasound examination, there is no radiation involved and the use of high frequency sounds waves in diagnostic Ultrasound has been deemed safe. There are no known immediate side effects or long-term effects. Pregnant women may undergo this procedure.