Need to Know
Nice to Know
Will I Need Surgery?
The majority of patients who undergo ductography will need surgery to remove a papilloma or nodule in the breast duct.
Why is This Exam Done?
Nipple discharge is a symptomatic problem that causes many women discomfort and anxiety. Mammography, ultrasound and MRI all image the breast but cannot demonstrate the details of the breast ducts as this contrast enhanced study can. The procedure is performed while you are experiencing nipple discharge so the radiologist can locate the specific duct that is leaking.
What Will Happen During the Exam?
- You will be asked to remove all clothing from the waist up and change into a gown
- Warm towels will be placed on your breast to allow easier access to the milk duct
- You will be positioned in a reclining chair and your nipple will be cleansed
- The radiologist will use a lighted magnification tool to visualize the nipple area
- The radiologist will apply pressure to the nipple to begin fluid discharge to locate the source or trigger zone.
- A small hollow needle is inserted into the nipple and gently guided to dilate the duct
- The tube will be taped in place and connected to a syringe filled with a contrast agent
- A small amount of contrast will be slowly injected through the needle
- A lightly compressed mammography image will be performed
- The radiologist will review the images in the examination room
- You will receive post procedure instructions including what to do if you experience swelling and bruising following your biopsy or experience discomfort not resolved with non-aspirin pain relief (Use a non-aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin-Aleve) for any post procedure discomfort)
How Should I Prepare?
- You may eat, drink and perform normal daily activities prior to this procedure
- Do not squeeze the nipple prior to the exam as it is important for the radiologist to see where the fluid is coming from
- Wear comfortable loose clothing and wear/bring a supportive sports bra
- Do not wear any powders, deodorant or lotion on the day of the procedure
- Allow about one hour for your procedure – this includes the pre and post procedure care
Should I Worry if I Have Nipple Discharge?
- Most nipple discharge is non-cancerous
- Discharge that is yellow, green, blue or black in color is usually categorized as less suspicious than bloody, colorless or clear discharge
- Discharge from both breasts in women who have not had children may indicate a side effect from a drug, or may be related to a pituitary problem in the brain