This test is performed by injecting a small amount of contrast material into a duct opening in your nipple. It is used to determine if there is any abnormality of the duct, a growth inside the duct or blockage of the duct. It is usually performed to evaluate bloody discharge from your nipple. You can have nipple discharge that is a variety of colors and consistencies that is normal and benign (not cancer related); bloody discharge however is never normal and should be evaluated.
You will be asked to not squeeze your nipple or massage your breast for at least a week before this test. This is because some bloody discharge is caused by trauma to the nipple and its underlying tissue and refraining from attempting to produce the discharge can be enough to stop the discharge entirely. There is no other preparation required for this test.
The test is performed in the mammography room and there is no sedation or anesthesia required. Only you, a mammography technologist and the diagnostic radiologist will be present for the procedure.
You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up. A gown will be provided for you to wear throughout the test.
You will be asked to massage your breast and nipple so that the discharging duct can be identified.
Once the discharging duct has been identified, a very small, flexible catheter (tube) will be inserted into the duct’s opening. You may feel a slight pressure as the catheter is inserted but this should not be painful.
A small amount of a contrast solution will then be injected through this catheter and the catheter removed. An x-ray will then be taken using the mammogram machine.
Once the x-ray has been taken, usually one or two pictures, the examination is complete. You should not feel any effects from the injected contrast material. You can return to your regular activities immediately following the completion of this examination.
No tissue is removed for examination during this test.
The radiologist will review the x-ray of the contrast-filled duct and notify your primary healthcare provider of the results. Your primary healthcare provider will then inform you of the results. If there is any abnormality, a recommendation will be made for you to consult with another physician, generally a surgeon, to discuss further evaluation options.