Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce an outline of part of the body. A computer picks up the echoes from the sound waves and uses them to generate a picture on the computer screen. For breast ultrasound, a small, microphone-like instrument is placed on top of the breast after it is covered with a special type of gel that allows the sound waves to pass directly from the instrument to the skin. Breast ultrasound is particularly useful in determining whether something is fluid-filled (a cyst) or a solid mass (a tumor).