Portable Breast Ultrasound Scanner

As surgeons and clinicians in the breast unit we need to use hand held portable ultrasound equipment to help to improve the service for our patients.  Within the department we do have high definition fixed ultrasound scanners for use by the breast radiologists for detailed diagnostic breast imaging. However, in addition to this it will be very helpful for the surgeons/clinicians to be able to use small portable ultrasound scanners in the outpatient clinic room and operating theatre. This will primarily be used in the following scenarios:

  1. To facilitate treatment and drainage of breast abscess formation, such as for women who are breast feeding and have developed an abscess. The use of ultrasound can help us to identify the presence of an abscess cavity and to aspirate the pus from it (with ultrasound to guide placement of the needle)
  2. To monitor the effectiveness of anti-oestrogen medical therapy for patients with breast cancer. Some patients are not able to have surgery to remove and treat their breast cancers. For such patients who have oestrogen sensitive cancers we can treat them with anti-oestrogen therapy. In this situation we monitor response to treatment to ensure that the cancer is not enlarging and ideally to see that it is reducing in size.  At present, in this situation, we are simply monitoring the patient through clinical examination, but ultrasound scanning can be much more useful and accurate to monitor response.  If a poor response to treatment is identified (or if the tumour becomes resistant to treatment) we can alter the treatment plan appropriately.
  3. In the operating theatre it can be useful in certain situations to use portable ultrasound to help to facilitate complete removal of the cancer, especially for those cancers that are difficult to palpate clinically. The ultrasound can help to more accurately locate the position of the tumour.