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.

Breast Ultrasound Screening is a new technology to screen for breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue. About 40% of women have dense breast tissue and are at an increased risk for breast cancer. Studies show that an ultrasound screening in conjunction with a mammogram can find more cancers in women with dense breasts than mammography alone. Our goal is to find cancers when they are small.

Breast Ultrasound Screening can find small cancers that mammography may miss in dense breast tissue. It is not a replacement for screening mammography. However, mammography is not a perfect examination for women with dense breasts. Adding Breast Ultrasound Screening to your annual screening mammogram helps us reassure you that there is truly no evidence of cancer.

The Breast Center is the first in the state to offer this type of dense breast screening and it is now covered 100% as wellness under some health plans. 

Research Shows


Since offering the breast ultrasound screening, The Breast Center has done nearly 5000 ultrasound screening 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 found were not seen on the screening mammogram because they were hidden by dense tissue. If the women who received these exams had not chosen to have the automated whole breast ultrasound exam, they might not have found the cancers until they were much larger.

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

The breast radiologist will interpret your mammogram and indicate if your breasts are 1) fatty tissue, 2) scattered fibroglandular tissue, 3) dense tissue, or 4) extremely dense tissue on the report. Dense breast tissue may make it more difficult for your radiologist to detect a cancer in your breast. 

The radiologists at The Breast Center, a MANA Clinic, believe that you should be aware of your breast density. We want you to understand breast density and especially want you to know if your mammograms could be less effective because of this dense tissue.

If your mammogram shows you have dense breasts, you may want to consider a Breast Ultrasound screening in addition to your mammogram. We encourage you to discuss this further with your gynecologist or primary care physician. You may also contact one of our nurses at the Breast Center (479-442-6266) to ask questions about breast ultrasound screening.

What to Expect

  • Breast Ultrasound Screening requires no breast compression, no radiation, and no injections
  • Breast Ultrasound Screening is painless.
  • It takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • Breast Ultrasound Screening is permanently recorded for your physician’s review and follow-up.
  • The image will be interpreted by one of our breast imagers and a report is sent to your referring provider in a couple of days following your examination.

Is this screening covered by insurance?

Breast Ultrasound Screening is cleared by the FDA as an additional examination in conjunction with screening mammography. 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.


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.

More information

Screening & Diagnostic Services