- Dr Michael Michell is a radiologist based at King's College Hospital.
When women were recalled and they went to the hospital, often they had more mammograms and an ultrasound scan. And several women wondered why they would need an ultrasound scan as well.
Sure, sure. When we’re looking at calcification which has been found on the screening mammograms, we do a work up to find out more about it. And the work up includes a clinical examination, usually the clinical examination is normal, so in other words there is not a lump that we can actually feel in the breast. However it’s still important that there’s a clinical assessment.
We then take more specialised mammogram pictures which involve magnifying the area so that we can see the little bits of calcium in more detail, and from looking at the shape and looking very carefully at the appearance on the x-rays, we can then decide whether it is a normal harmless finding and doesn’t need to be further investigated, or whether we need to do a further test in order to find out exactly what the cause is.
We sometimes do ultrasound in cases where there’s micro-calcification, simply because if we’re able to see the area well enough on ultrasound it means that we can use the ultrasound to guide a needle biopsy. In a lot of cases, however, when the bits of calcium are very, very tiny, it’s simply impossible to see them clearly enough on ultrasound and in those cases we will use x-ray guidance to be sure that we sample exactly the right area when we are doing a biopsy.