Is Ductography Still Warranted in the 21st century?

Serine Baydoun, Pedro Gonzalez, Gary J. Whitman, Mark Dryden, Yin Xi, Basak Dogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the utility of ductography in conjunction with mammography and ultrasound in patients with pathologic nipple discharge, and the incremental role of MRI after triple-modality evaluation. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who had presented with pathologic nipple discharge and had undergone mammography and/or ultrasound and ductography between January 1, 2005, and October 31, 2010. We tested the diagnostic sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of combined triple-modality evaluation as well as of MRI performed in addition to these imaging techniques. We used the gold standard of image-guided biopsies, surgical excision, or long-term clinical and imaging follow-up. Results: Among 94 study patients, benign papillomas were identified in 42 (44.7%), abscess in one (1%), duct ectasia in four (4.3%), and malignancy (invasive ductal carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ) or high-risk lesion (atypical ductal hyperplasia) in 10 (10.6%). Forty-six patients (49%) underwent surgical excision; 89.1% of which had presurgical planning with ductography. In 35 (37.2%) with negative imaging, resolution of nipple discharge was confirmed on median clinical and imaging follow-up of 36 months. Two patients with negative imaging were lost to follow-up. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV for accurately demonstrating the etiology of pathologic nipple discharge were 13%, 97%, 89%, and 37% respectively for mammography; 73%, 97%, 98%, and 64% respectively for ultrasound; 76%, 72%, 84%, and 61% respectively for ductography; 86%, 70%, 85%, and 72% respectively for combined ultrasound and ductography; and 75%, 100%, 100% and 67% respectively for DCE-MRI. Conclusion: The combination of mammography, ultrasound and ductography is highly accurate for identifying the etiology of pathologic nipple discharge. DCE-MRI can be used as an alternate to ductography if necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-662
Number of pages9
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • breast
  • ductography
  • pathologic nipple discharge
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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