A breast sonographer is a medical professional who has been trained to conduct diagnostic tests of this part of a patient’s body. They operate sonogram equipment that uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the breast. The breast sonographer holds a probe in his or her hand to direct the sound waves during the examination. The sound waves bounce off the breast tissue and the echo is used to generate the images on a screen. This test may be ordered after a mammogram has been performed, since the sonogram picks up breast cysts and other conditions that may not be readily apparent on a mammogram.
Part of the breast sonographer’s job is to take the patient’s medical history and explain the procedure to her. The sonographer positions the patient on her back on an examining table. A gel or lotion is applied to the breast area immediately before the start of the exam.
During the exam, the breast sonographer will move the probe over the skin on the patient’s breast to capture images. The sonographer may be required to mark certain items on the image as part of the examination. The breast sonographer can answer a patient’s questions about the testing procedure, but cannot reveal the test results to the patient. Instead, he or she provides the results to a doctor for interpretation and diagnosis.
The education required to become a breast sonographer is either a two- or four-year degree from an accredited educational institution. Most people working in the field have an Associate’s (two-year degree).
Qualified breast sonographers can find jobs working in hospitals or private imaging facilities offering breast exams. An individual working in a clinic would likely be working a regular daytime shift, while someone working in a hospital setting would more likely to be scheduled for evening, night and weekend hours as well.