Automated full-field volumetric ultrasound

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 23 Mar 2023

An automatic full-field volumetric breast ultrasound scanner (AFFBUS) is a developing technology which was initiated to overcome the drawback of dense breast and to get a three-dimensional view of the breast. 

  • scan station
  • view station

Automatic ultrasound imaging acquisition of the breasts is done by acquiring volumetric data. In one method currently in use,  a rigid pivoted stationary frame is manually pushed so that the transducer with gel applied on it comes in contact with the breast and an optimal scan is acquired.

The acquired data is analyzed and converted into thin tomographic slices. There is a facility to use a virtual probe by which multiple other scan planes can be acquired and a lesion, if visualized, can be better demonstrated with its adjacent structures. The viewing can be done in cine mode or by regular grey scale images. Post processing may be done and finally, the interpretation is done based on the data acquired in the various planes.

In addition to the expected artifacts, automated breast ultrasounds have specific artifacts not seen in handheld ultrasounds of the breast 1. As with all ultrasound while some artifacts lower the ease of interpretation of the examination, some may be useful, such a 'skip' artifact. A skip artifact happens when the transducer makes a tiny jump because of the interaction of a transducer programmed to run at a constant speed, and an area of change in tissue density 2.

  • good demonstration of breast anatomy
  • reproducible images due to improved lesion localization 
  • provides information for CAD of breast lesion
  • better overview of breast anatomy
  • negative reading competence improved

Due to high pick up and demonstration of lesions, the rate of inadvertent aspirations and biopsy is high. 

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