Automated Breast Ultrasound Far Faster than Hand-held

May 3, 2012

Researchers found ABUS takes three minutes of physician interpretation time compared with 20 to 30 minutes for hand-held ultrasounds.

Automated breast ultrasounds take an average of only three minutes of physician time compared with 20 to 30 minutes that it takes for hand-held ultrasounds, say researchers from George Washington University Medical School in Washington, DC. The results of their study were presented at the American Roentgen Ray Society in Vancouver, Canada.

Dense breasts are difficult to image by mammography, causing one-third of cancers to be missed, thus requiring ultrasounds for further examination, researchers said.

“Ultrasound can and does detect additional, clinically significant, invasive, node negative breast cancers, hat are not seen on mammography,” said Rachel Brem, MD, the study’s lead author. Because traditional ultrasound screening is time consuming, a quicker three-minute technique is a “game changer,” she added.

To evaluate the automated breast ultrasound effectiveness, the researchers assessed how long it took for radiologists to interpret the automated exam. The mean reading time for the three radiologists in the study was 173.4 seconds.

An FDA panel recently voted in favor of the automated breast ultrasound efficacy and safety, although its use remains limited now.