Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center is now a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence as designated by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

This designation means Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center has achieved accreditation by the ACR in stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound, and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, breast MRI and in mammography, and signifies that we provide these essential services to our community at the highest standards of the radiology profession.


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Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound

Your breasts are made up of dense (fibrous) breast tissue and fatty breast tissue. The density of your breasts can be checked with a mammogram. A mammogram will show the amount of dense tissue and fatty tissue in your breasts. Some women’s breasts are made up of almost all dense breast tissue, with very little fatty tissue. This is called heterogeneously dense (breast density category 3) or extremely dense (breast density category 4). Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue can make it hard to find small tumors or other abnormal areas in your breast. Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) is a new way to screen dense breast tissue to look for cancer. ABUS creates 3D (3-dimensional) pictures of your breast tissue. These pictures show your breast tissue in different sections and orientations.

What should I expect during my ABUS?

You will lay down on your back during the ABUS screening. The imaging technologist will put a thin layer of lotion on both breasts. This lotion helps the ABUS scanner take images of your breast tissue. The ABUS scanner will be placed on your breast and moved 2 to 3 times to take pictures of different areas of each breast. You may feel gentle pressure on your breasts, but your breasts will not be compressed like during a mammogram. The ABUS is painless and takes about 15 minutes.

Do I still need a mammogram?

Yes. Mammograms are very important and are the best way to find breast cancer early. If you have dense breast tissue, ABUS screening, along with your mammogram, can provide a better picture of your breast tissue.

Can anyone have an ABUS?

Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer. ABUS is offered to those with an average risk of breast cancer and dense breasts. A breast MRI may be needed if you have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer. Your health care provider can provide information about these tests to help you decide if additional screening tests may be right for you. ABUS should not be done on anyone with an implantable medical device in their chest. This would include pacemakers, loop recorders or anything with a wire or catheter that passes through the chest wall, such as shunts, stimulators, etc. This screening test can be done if you have silicone or saline breast implants.

Benefits of ABUS