Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening

fatty vs. dense tissue
Mammography images of Fatty breast tissue on the left and Dense breast tissue on the right demonstrate how hard it is to see a cancer that also appears white on a mammogram.

Women with dense breasts are at an increased risk of breast cancer. However, studies show that an Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening in conjunction with a mammogram can find more cancers in women with dense breasts than mammography alone. 

For women with dense breast tissue, Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening is a new technology to screen for breast cancer. About 48% of women have dense breast tissue and are at an increased risk for breast cancer.

Our goal is to find cancers when they are small and more easily treatable. Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening (ABUS) can find small cancers that mammography may miss in dense breast tissue. On a mammogram, dense breast tissue and cancer both appear white making it difficult to see tiny cancers. ABUS is not a replacement for screening mammography.  Adding Breast Ultrasound Screening to your annual screening mammogram can help you be confident in your results.

In Arkansas, the experts at The Breast Center were the first provider to offer ABUS in 2012. As part of our mission is to provide hope through early detection through individual customized care, we offer specialized screening for women with dense breast tissue. Because for women with dense breasts, ABUS finds more small cancers than mammography alone.

In Arkansas, ABUS is now covered by most insurance plans. 

Research Shows

Since offering Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening, The Breast Center has performed nearly 5000 ABUS exams and found 4.7 cancers per 1000.  This is slightly higher than the national average of 3-4 cancers per 1000 women who have breast ultrasound in addition to mammograms. 

At The Breast Center, the majority of cancers the radiologists found on the ABUS exam were not seen on the mammogram because they were hidden by dense tissue. If the women who received these exams had not chosen to have the ABUS exam, they might not have found the cancers until they were much larger.

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

After your mammography exam, the breast radiologist will interpret the 3D images and indicate the type of breast tissue on your mammogram report. You and your primary physician or gynecologist will receive the mammogram report letter by mail or on our secure patient portal. The types of breast tissue are: 

  1. fatty tissue,
  2. scattered fibroglandular tissue,
  3. dense tissue, or
  4. extremely dense tissue on the report.

Dense tissue can make it harder for the radiologist to see cancers on your mammogram. If your breast tissue is indicated as dense or extremely dense, consider having an Automated Breast Screening Ultrasound (ABUS) in addition to your mammogram each year. 

If you have any questions about your breast density or mammogram report, please contact one of our nurses at (479-442-6266). 

What to Expect

  • Breast Ultrasound Screening requires no breast compression, no radiation, and no injections
  • Breast Ultrasound Screening is painless.
  • You will be asked to change out of your blouse and bra, and provided a gown to wear for the exam. 
  • The ultrasound covers the entire breast and lymph nodes and takes about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Breast Ultrasound Screening is permanently recorded for your physician’s review and follow-up. The breast imagers will interpret the ultrasound images and send a report to you and your doctor in a couple of days following your examination. 

Is ABUS covered by insurance?

Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening is cleared by the FDA as an additional examination in conjunction with screening mammography. In Arkansas, most insurance companies cover the cost of this examination if it is recommended. 

At your next mammography appointment, ask your technologist if you have dense breast tissue and if this examination may be right for you.


Request an appointment online or call to make an appointment for a Breast Ultrasound Screening in Fayetteville or Bentonville, call (479) 442-6266. You do not need a physician’s referral. You can schedule your breast ultrasound screening in the same appointment with your annual mammogram. 

More information