Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is a noninvasive medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the internal structures of the breast.

Most ultrasounds are painless, quick and easy. The breast ultrasound is generally completed within 30 minutes. This test is typically used to differentiate between solid tumors and fluid-filled cysts.

About Dense Breast Tissue 

About 40% of women have dense breast tissue. For these women, mammograms alone may not be enough to find breast cancer.

On a mammogram, dense tissue and masses both appear white, so a suspicious lump may be hidden in dense tissue. When dense tissue is scanned with ultrasound, tissue appears white and masses appear black – making them easier to see.

Ultrasound, when combined with mammography, can increase the accuracy and detection of breast cancer in dense breasts by 35.7%; which is double the detection rate when only using mammography.

What breast density means

Breasts are made of fat and breast tissue. A breast with more tissue than fat is considered dense. Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. 

There are four density categories:

  • A – Almost entirely fatty
  • B – Scattered fibroglandular densities 
  • C – Heterogeneously dense (considered dense breast)
  • D – Extremely dense (considered dense breast)

Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS)

Invenia ABUS is an FDA-approved system for breast cancer screening when used in combination with mammography in women who have dense breast tissue.

This technology takes the place of the traditional guided ultrasound described above and is currently available in the following regions served by OSF HealthCare:

  • Bloomington
  • Danville
  • Evergreen Park
  • Peoria
  • Rockford

Unlike 2D or 3D mammography, which uses radiation, ABUS screening uses sound waves to create 3D pictures of the breast tissue. ABUS screening along with a screening mammogram, will help provide a more complete evaluation of dense breast tissue. 

Talk to your health care provider about dense breasts and whether you would benefit from an ABUS screening.

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