Breast Ductography

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Your doctor may recommend ductography if you have suspicious nipple discharge.

Ductography, also known as galactography, is a special kind of mammogram. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that uses contrast dye to look for problems in your breast ducts. It can diagnose obstructions (or “filling defects”).

In 90 percent of cases, obstructions in the milk ducts are not cancerous. Causes of unusual nipple discharge may include:

  • Benign papilloma (non-cancerous wart-like growth)
  • Benign fibrocystic changes (non-cancerous breast lumps)
  • Benign duct ectasia (a clogged or blocked duct)
  • Breast cancer

What to Expect During a Ductography

Your doctor will provide detailed instructions but, in general, you can prepare much like you would for a mammogram:

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing to the exam.
  • Don't wear jewelry.
  • Don’t apply deodorant or lotion under your arms or on your breasts the day of the exam.

You’ll change into a gown for the procedure. During your ductography, a radiologist will inject contrast dye into your breast duct. Then a technologist will give you a mammogram.

Your breast care team will review the results to determine next steps.

Normal vs Abnormal Nipple Discharge

You may experience milky discharge after childbirth or after you stop breastfeeding. If you notice discharge and you have not given birth or breastfed or if the discharge is bloody, black, green, yellow, blue, or clear discharge, talk to your doctor.

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