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What is an Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening (ABUS)?
Fairfax Radiology was the first in Northern Virginia to offer ABUS—an advanced breast cancer-screening tool that is performed in conjunction with a Screening Mammogram to help uncover cancer that may be hidden in women with dense breasts.
While Mammography is highly effective in finding breast cancer in most women, sometimes a Mammogram screening is not enough. Adding ABUS can find more cancers than Mammography alone in women with dense breasts.
Breasts are made up of both fatty tissue and glandular tissue (milk ducts and lobules). The more glandular tissue a woman has, the denser her breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is white on a Mammogram and fatty tissue is grey on a Mammogram. So the denser the breast tissue, the whiter the Mammogram will appear.
If you have dense breasts, you are not alone. Four out of ten women have dense breasts, which may put them at a higher risk of breast cancer. The only way to know if you have dense breasts is to have a Mammogram. If you have a Mammogram at Fairfax Radiology, we will report your breast density information to you and your physician. It is important to know your breast density and understand which tests are best for you.
If it is determined from a Mammogram that you have dense breasts, it is important to have a conversation with your physician about other factors that could affect your risk, as well as additional screenings, such as ABUS, that could aid in early detection of breast cancer.
The breasts are composed of two types of tissue: fat and glandular tissue. On a Mammogram, the fat appears grey, while the glandular tissue appears white. The more glandular tissue a woman has, the whiter the Mammogram will appear. Since some signs of cancer also appear white on a Mammogram, they could be obscured or hidden by dense, white tissue. Many cancers that could hide on a Mammogram show up clearly on an ABUS screening.
During the exam, you will lie on a table and the Mammography Technologist will apply gel to the breast. A special Ultrasound probe will press gently on your breast and move from the top to the bottom of your breast in several sections. The whole test could take anywhere from 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of your breast.
Some women with a history of certain kinds of surgeries and some women with some kinds of implants might be better candidates for a hand-held Whole Breast Screening Ultrasound rather than the Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) Screening.
This exam is not covered under preventive services. You will be responsible for payment of the amount determined by your health plan including any deductible, coinsurance, co-payment, and non-covered services once a claim has been filed and processed.