Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS)

An Automated Breast Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to take 3D images of the whole breast, targeting specific areas and ensuring they are displayed in a reproducible fashion. It is especially beneficial to women with dense breast tissue, because a high breast density (Volpara) score can make a mammogram harder to read and ABUS allows the technologist to check the breast from a variety of angles offering more accurate interpretations.

ABUS is often recommended as supplemental screening in conjunction with a screening mammography for women with extremely dense breast tissue (Volpara D), and women with heterogeneously dense breast tissue (Volpara C) combined with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, child) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. For more information about breast density, read our Knowledge Centre article What are Dense Breasts?

ABUS is a fast and almost painless procedure which can look at both breasts in about 15 minutes. For more information on ABUS, read our Knowledge Centre articles, Can ABUS Reduce Breast Cancer Risk? and Advances in Breast Imaging.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?

  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment.
  • Take all prescribed medications as directed.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit so you can change for the exam more comfortably.
  • If you are having a mammography the same day, you may be asked to avoid the use of deodorant or lotions.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?

  • You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and given a robe.
  • Your breast area will need to be visible for the exam and your sonographer will need to apply a generous amount of ultrasound gel.
  • The sonographer will press the ABUS transducer to the breast and hold it while the images are gathered. The transducer is designed to conform to your shape and make the exam comfortable, but you may feel some pressure. 
  • Both breasts will be examined, which will take about 15 minutes for the entire exam.
  • The radiologist will review the images and compare to previous ultrasounds or mammograms.
  • It is not unusual for the sonographer to ask the radiologist to come into the scan room after your exam to speak to you about your results.

WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?

We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?  

This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic.

**Please note, ABUS is only offered at our Market Mall, Mayfair Place, Southcentre, and The CORE locations.