Ductography

Also known as: Galactography

If you have abnormal nipple discharge, your doctor will likely recommend a ductogram. Unlike alternate imaging procedures, a ductogram can help find the cause of the discharge with a higher level of precision.

Ductography, also called galactography, is a diagnostic imaging procedure used to determine the cause of abnormal nipple discharge. It is often used to diagnose women with spontaneous clear or bloody nipple discharge from one breast.

A ductogram takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes and is performed as an outpatient imaging procedure. Ductography uses the same technology as a mammogram. 

During the procedure, a tiny cannula (thin tube) with a blunt tip is inserted into the problem duct through the nipple. 

The cannula gently injects a small amount of radiopaque fluid, also called contrast fluid, into the duct. The fluid outlines the inside of the duct and helps your doctor see small growths in the breast through an X-ray. 

These growths are often the cause of abnormal nipple discharge. While growths are most often benign (non-cancerous), they are typically removed, allowing definitive diagnosis as well as curing the discharge.

Though highly uncommon, there are slight risks to a ductography screening. These include:

  • Minor injury to the duct
  • Minimal radiation exposure
  • Infection