Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU)

Now available at Charlotte Radiology.

We're proud to expand our service offering to include Screening Breast Ultrasound, a new technology for detecting breast cancer that may not be visible on a mammogram.
Screening Breast Ultrasound (SBU) uses sound waves-not radiation-to scan the entire breast. SBU can detect some cancers not visible on a mammogram, especially if the breast tissue is dense. SBU does not replace mammography; rather, it is a different imaging technique that provides additional information to complement the mammogram.

Patients who meet all three of the following criteria are good candidates for SBU:

  1. Negative mammogram within the past six months
  2. Dense breast tissue identified on mammogram (category C or D)
  3. One or more of these risk factors:
    • Personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
    • Family history of breast cancer
    • History of breast biopsy showing atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH), atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH), lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or other atypical pathology

In addition, a patient may opt for SBU if she is a candidate for breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) but is unable to have an MRI for financial or other reasons, including claustrophobia, contrast contraindication or metal/devices precluding MRI. Please note that patients who have had a recent breast MRI or are eligible to have one in the near future do not need to also have an SBU.

A physician's order is not required to schedule an SBU; however, Charlotte Radiology will submit a request for a physician's order, simply to meet insurance requirements in case additional tests are required after the SBU.

Screening ultrasound causes no significant physical discomfort. SBU does not require injections or breast compression, and no advance preparation is needed. A breast ultrasound technologist or a physician will perform the scan of the entire breast using a hand-held ultrasound probe. The appointment can last up to 60 minutes. Patients will receive results before leaving, as well as information about any additional tests that may be indicated. Patients can resume normal activities immediately following SBU.
Insurance coverage for screening breast ultrasound is evolving. Charlotte Radiology will bill insurance, and some insurance plans do cover the test; however, if the screening is not covered, the patient will assume responsibility for the cost. A bill for $210 will be sent via mail. HSA and FSA funds may also be used to pay for this test. Please note that if any additional testing is required beyond the SBU, these are generally covered by insurance.
Screening breast ultrasound is available at our breast center located in the Morehead Medical Plaza at 1025 Morehead Medical Drive, Suite 150.

» Morehead Breast Center