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Automated whole-breast ultrasound (ABUS)

Women's Imaging Center in Lake Forest, IL

More than 300,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, and you probably know someone who’s been affected. Dr. Karen Mass, MD, FACOG, and Joseph D. Calandra, MD, FACR, led a team of imaging experts who provide breast scans of all types, including specialized ultrasounds for dense breasts.

Automated whole-breast ultrasound (ABUS) helps women with dense breast tissue be proactive about their breast health. Early diagnosis and treatment can save your life, so don’t delay your test any longer. Call our office at 847-235-2415 or book your appointment online now.

Automated whole-breast ultrasound (ABUS) Q&A

What is an automated whole-breast ultrasound?

Automated whole-breast ultrasound (ABUS) is an early breast cancer detection test. This safe, FDA-approved test uses sound waves to create a 3D image of your breasts. ABUS is a painless, noninvasive process and only takes 15-30 minutes at Mass Medical Imaging Centers. 

Who needs an automated whole-breast ultrasound? 

If you have dense breast tissue, you may need an ABUS. Dense breasts have a high amount of glandular tissue (the milk production system) and fibrous tissue (the tissue that supports breast structure). Fatty tissue is the third tissue inside the breasts. 


About 4 in 10 women have breasts with significant density spaced throughout their breasts. Another 1 in 10 women have very dense breast tissue all through their breasts. Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with mainly fatty breasts. 


ABUS helps manage those risks by showing detailed views of the glandular and fibrous tissues. It can find the breast cancers that a mammogram may miss. 

Does automated whole-breast ultrasound replace a mammogram?

No, ABUS is an add-on test, not a replacement. If you have dense breasts, you need both tests. 

The average sensitivity (accuracy in detecting breast cancer) of mammograms is about 87% for women with mainly fatty breast tissue. But, accuracy drops to just 48% for women with dense breasts.


If you have dense breasts, you still need a mammogram because it detects some types of breast cancer best. For example, a mammogram can detect calcifications inside the breast ducts calcium buildup that can be an early sign of cancer. But ABUS doesn’t detect calcifications. 


An ABUS shows areas that mammograms don’t show well, and vice-versa, so the two tests work hand-in-hand. Studies in the Journal of Ultrasonography show that having an ABUS along with a mammogram improves breast cancer detection significantly. 


Does ABUS contain radiation?

ABUS contains no radiation and no X-ray imaging, only ultrasound waves. It’s safe to have an ABUS alongside every recommended mammogram. Mass Medical Imaging recommends a mammogram and ABUS schedule based on your age, health history, and the findings of your previous exams. 


Mass Medical Imaging Centers is at the forefront of medical innovation with ABUS and other advanced tests like mammograms, breast biopsies, and bone scans. The caring and friendly team performs all tests in their state-of-the-art facility. Book your appointment using the online feature or call the office today.