Screening Breast Ultrasound

A screening breast ultrasound may be used in addition to mammography in some women.

Invision Sally Jobe is proud to be among the first diagnostic imaging networks in the United States to offer a new form of breast ultrasound for cancer screening: Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU). An adjunctive examination to mammography, this FDA-cleared technology is ideal for women who:

  • Have dense breast tissue (approximately 40% of all women)
  • Have breast implants
  • Have a family history of breast cancer or a previous breast biopsy showing pre-cancer or cancer
  • Are pregnant, may be pregnant, or nursing
  • Have lumpy or fibrocystic breasts

Screening Breast Ultrasound vs. Mammography

Great strides in detecting breast cancer earlier, before it becomes clinically evident, have been demonstrated by digital mammography. Mammography utilizes x-rays passing through the breast, while ultrasound uses sound waves, which are absorbed at different rates by different tissue types. Therefore ultrasound displays lesions differently than a mammographic image. Unlike digital mammography, which can mask small cancers due to the dense tissue, utilizing Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU) provides the radiologist the ability to look through the glandular tissue in order to find small invasive cancers. This is why Invision Sally Jobe patients with dense breast tissue may benefit from SBU in addition to screening mammography.

Studies have shown that some cancers can be missed with mammography in women with dense breasts. Screening Breast Ultrasound, when added to an annual mammogram, may find more small cancers than mammography alone. The SBU procedure takes a minimum of 45 minutes and requires no breast compression or injections. The exam uses no ionizing radiation, so it is safe to receive frequently, and is also safe for pregnant women. Unlike other breast ultrasound exams, SBU is intended to scan the entire breast, not just specific regions, which is why it is useful as a screening—versus diagnostic—tool.

It is important to note that SBU is not a substitute for mammography. All women of screening age should continue with annual mammograms. A patient may choose to have SBU at the same time as a mammogram or she may alternate mammogram and SBU every six months. The patient and her referring physician(s) can determine the schedule that is best. Studies have shown that, in certain women, using both mammography and SBU is more effective in early detection of breast cancer when compared to mammography alone.

Requesting a Screening Breast Ultrasound

If a patient is interested in SBU at Invision Sally Jobe, it is important that she returns to her referring doctor(s) to review this information with him or her. Like all procedures, SBU will require an order from a referring physician(s). After the order is faxed to us, a member of our staff will contact the patient to schedule the procedure.

Insurance Coverage

Screening breast ultrasound exams are usually covered by insurance when ordered by a physician. Check with your insurance company to be sure. Please bring your insurance card with you to your exam.

Learn More

For more information on this topic, patients can contact our genetic counselor at 720-493-3229 or via email at

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