Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS)
Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) is a new approach to finding up to 30% more cancers in women who have dense breast tissue, even if that is their only additional risk factor. ABUS is used to answer the need of detecting additional cancer in women where mammography alone may be insufficient due to their greater breast density. It uses ultrasound, which is the same technology used to image the fetus in pregnant women, but in a different way. There is no ionizing radiation and ABUS is a quick, painless and effective way to image dense breasts.
With 3D ultrasound volume and U-Systems software, radiologists can look through hundreds of breast tissue image "slices", looking at layers of dense tissue to find breast cancers which may have been missed on a mammogram. This is different than routine ultrasound of the breasts since the images from ABUS allows you to see in projections that routine ultrasound cannot which results in detecting more breast cancers and less false negatives, that is findings due to images which are not cancer.
A complete ABUS exam takes about 15 minutes. Positioned comfortably on the exam table, most patients report the ABUS procedure to be painless; however, some women with very sensitive breast tissue have complained about minor discomfort during the scanning process.
Before starting the exam, the ABUS operator attaches a sheer membrane to the ultrasound scanner. A layer of lotion is then applied to the breast, which ensures good contact between the ultrasound transducer and the skin. To guarantee the best image quality, the sheer stabilizing membrane of the somo•v ABUS is positioned on the breast during scanning, which gently flattens the breast tissue against the body and prevents breast movement.
The operator initiates the scanning process. A 10-second preview scan automatically determines the patient's unique breast tissue signature so the ideal ultrasound imaging parameters can be set by the software. Then, the actual image scan begins and lasts about 60 seconds. The technologist follows the display monitor in real-time to ensure proper breast coverage and tissue contact during the scan. Typically, three scans are performed on each breast for a complete scan of the breast volume.
The 3D ultrasound images are then sent to the somo•VIEWer workstation for physician’s review, either immediately following the exam or at a later point in the patient's care. There the specialized, expert radiologist interprets the ABUS scan along with the women’s mammogram and clinical history. All together, the result is a more accurate way of detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts. Even women with prior cancer, breast surgery or implants benefit from the additional information ABUS offeres.