A ductogram is a test used to find the cause of discharge from the nipple. A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging finds the part of the nipple involved, and then images the breast ducts that lead to that part of the nipple. The procedure itself may only take a few minutes, but please allow 45 minutes for your appointment. 

On the day of your exam: 

  • Wear a shirt that can be removed easily so you can change into a gown. 
  • Do not apply any deodorants, powders or lotions under the arm or on your breast. 
  • Do not squeeze the nipple to produce discharge within 24 hours of this test. 
  • Let scheduling staff know if you have ever had any reaction to x-ray contrast. 

You will be seated during this procedure and will be asked to express some of the nipple discharge so the radiologist can locate the specific duct. A numbing medication is then applied to the nipple area. A thin tube is slipped into the opening of the affected duct. The radiologist injects a tiny amount of contrast into this duct. Some women say they have a slight feeling of pressure or fullness in the nipple region as the contrast is injected. A gentle mammogram will then be taken. The radiologist carefully examines the ductal system that is now highlighted with the contrast, to note any blockage or defects. Following the procedure, a gauze pad will be provided to absorb any discharge that may occur. 

Most often, the radiologist finds the cause of the discharge to be a small papilloma (growth) or ectasia (inflammation). If you are not currently under the care of a surgeon, an appointment may be arranged based on the findings of this test. 

If you are no longer having breast discharge and are scheduled for this test, please call the doctor who ordered the test or The Breast Center of Suburban Imaging nurse at (763) 795-0704.

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