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Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

The Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) is an FDA-approved non-invasive, radiation-free procedure used in addition to a mammogram to increase the accuracy of breast cancer screening in asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue. This painless procedure helps our physicians evaluate dense breast tissue more accurately, using sound waves to create 3D images of the breast. ABUS has been shown to improve the detection rates for breast cancer when used in addition to a mammogram.

The NorthShore Center for Breast Health is one of the first health systems within the Chicagoland area to utilize this innovative approach to breast cancer screening, which is available at our four locations; Evanston Hospital, Skokie Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital and Highland Park Hospital. 

The Whole Breast Ultrasound exam is not necessary for all women getting screened. This test may be recommended to you by your physician if you:

  • Have areas of dense breast tissue
  • Are not having any current breast symptoms
  • Have received a mammogram within the past year

How to Prepare for the Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

For patients who received their mammogram at an outside institution, please bring any prior mammographic images to your ultrasound appointment. Your physicians will compare this with the ultrasound results to get a clear idea about your breast health. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment – you may schedule a mammogram for the same day if one has not already been completed.

What to Expect During the Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

  • The procedure will take approximately 15 minutes from prep to image creation, with each scan lasting only 40 seconds. You will meet with a mammography technologist, who will be with you throughout the procedure.
  • Your mammography technologist will add your information into the ABUS machine and determine the depth of the scan and the type of sequence.
  • To begin, you will lie on your back with your chest facing the ceiling, allowing the breast tissue to spread out evenly. Your tech will place an angled sponge under your hips and back to get the correct positioning.
  • The technician will apply a hypo-allergenic, non-toxic ultrasound lotion to the breast and nipple.
  • You will feel a painless compression when the reverse curve transducer is placed on the breast – the scanning process will take under one minute. Multiple views and scans will be obtained of the breast. This procedure will then be repeated for the second breast.

What to Expect After the Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

The technician will be able to see 3D images of the breast within minutes, and will be able to examine different layers of the breast to confirm adequate imaging of the entire breast. Images are transferred to a workstation for 3D processing and evaluation by a board-certified radiologist specializing in breast imaging. Within days, you will receive a result letter in the mail; your results can also be accessed through NorthShoreConnect.

If additional imaging is required as a result of your ultrasound (and same-day mammogram, if obtained), you will be notified directly by phone.

For More Information

Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound is available at Glenbrook Hospital, Highland Park Hospital, Skokie Hospital and Evanston Hospital. For more information or to speak with a technologist who can help to determine if this procedure would be right for you, please call 847.657.3845 for our Glenbrook location, 847.480.3998 for our Highland Park location, 224.251.3360 for our Skokie location, or 847.570.4878 for our Evanston location.

NorthShore offers interpretive language services for non-English speaking patients. A request for this no-cost service should be made at the time of appointment scheduling.