Evaluation Background: Automated Whole-Breast Ultrasound Scanners
March 23, 2016 | Evaluations & Guidance
Here's background for our Evaluation of automated whole-breast ultrasound scanners, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. We provide a summary of our product ratings and explain how the technology is used and what factors we test for. We also report on hospitals' interest in each manufacturer, typical costs of ownership, and more.
Automated whole-breast ultrasound (AWBUS) scanners automate the acquisition of ultrasound images of the breast and facilitate review of images for formal interpretation by a physician. AWBUS is a technological advancement over conventional handheld ultrasound (HHUS) of the breast, which is time-consuming and more operator dependent.
AWBUS is a recent technological innovation; the first scanner was commercially released in 2009 to supplement screening mammography.
Increased breast density as identified on screening mammography has been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.  More than 20 U.S. states have enacted legislation mandating that women who are identified as having dense breasts during screening mammography be notified in order to raise their awareness of the limitations of mammography when used on patients with this characteristic; these patients are encouraged to consult with their physician.
Thus, there is a growing need to improve how breast ultrasound is performed and how it is integrated into the overall diagnosis of breast disease—especially for patients who have dense breasts—and the care of patients with breast abnormalities.
AWBUS has the potential to provide such improvements; for example:
- It improves reproducibility and...