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Difference between a Mammogram and An Ultrasound

Difference between a Mammogram and An Ultrasound

Mammograms and ultrasounds are both types of imaging tests that are used to examine the breasts. However, they serve different purposes and have different benefits. A mammogram uses X-rays to produce an image of the breasts, while an ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the breasts. Learn more about the differences between these two tests below.

What is a Mammogram?

A Mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breasts, used to detect and diagnose breast diseases. The examination is performed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases using images produced by X-rays, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  • Mammograms are performed for both diagnostic and screening purposes. Diagnostic Mammograms are used to evaluate a patient who has a breast complaint, such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge, or a change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • Screening Mammograms are used to detect early signs of breast cancer in patients who have no current complaints.
    Mammograms are generally recommended for women over the age of 40, although some women may be at increased risk for breast cancer and may need to begin screening earlier.
  • Your doctor can help you determine if you are at increased risk. Mammography is considered one of the best tools available for early detection of breast cancer. When detected early, many cancers can be treated successfully.

What is An Ultrasound?

A ultrasound is a high-frequency sound wave that is used to create images of the inside of the body. It is a painless, noninvasive test that can be used to visualize a variety of internal organs, including the heart, lungs, and abdominal organs. A typical ultrasound exam takes 30-60 minutes to complete, and the images are immediately available for interpretation by a physician. Ultrasounds are often used to screen for abnormalities in pregnant women and their unborn children, as well as to diagnose a variety of other medical conditions.

Difference between a Mammogram and An Ultrasound

  • There are a few key differences between a mammogram and an ultrasound. First, a mammogram uses X-rays to create images of the breast tissue, while an ultrasound uses sound waves. This means that a mammogram can often detect smaller abnormalities than an ultrasound.
  • Additionally, a mammogram is typically performed on both breasts, while an ultrasound is usually only done on one breast at a time. Finally, a mammogram is generally considered to be more accurate than an ultrasound when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer.
  • However, an ultrasound may be recommended in addition to a mammogram if a suspicious area is detected. Ultimately, both procedures can be useful in detecting breast abnormalities and should be discussed with a doctor to determine which is best for each individual patient.


A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, while an ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the body. Ultrasounds are often used to look at fetuses and pregnant women, but can also be used to check for tumors or other problems with the breasts. Mammograms are more commonly used than ultrasounds to screen for breast cancer because they can detect tumors that are too small to see with an ultrasound. However, ultrasounds are less likely to cause false positives than mammograms.

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