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Closer look at nipple discharge

A ductogram is performed to help us better understand the causes of nipple discharge and to see what the inside of your breast ducts looks like.

For your safety

Tell your physician or the technologist performing the exam if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Your doctor may postpone the exam to reduce the possible risk of exposing your baby to radiation. Preparing for a ductogram

  • You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the images.
  • You should not wear deodorant, powder, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam.
  • Tell your doctor about all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia.
  • Inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
  • You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward. This is recommended if you will be sedated.

What to expect during a ductogram

The doctor or technologist will clean the skin over the area for examination. He or she will then inject a medication to numb the area using a very small needle. A tiny thread-like catheter will be passed into the opening of the duct and then a small amount of X-ray dye will be used to fill the duct. Several images of the area will then be taken.

Generally, there is minimal or no discomfort with this procedure.


A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.