A ductogram (also called a galactogram) is used to view your breast ducts, and is helpful in diagnosing nipple discharge, ductal ectasia. In some women who are pre– or perimenopausal (age 40 – 50), breast milk ducts may become swollen and clogged. Milk ducts can dilate (swell) and the walls may thicken, so much so that the flow of fluid is blocked. These ducts are just beneath the nipple, and when these swell, that can cause your nipple to feel tender or irritated, and may cause nipple discharge. Mammary duct ectasia can cause grey to green discharge that is thick and sticky. This is a benign (non-cancerous) condition.
Fibrocystic changes involves lobes, ducts (glandular) and connective (stromal) breast tissue. Women of all ages can be affected by fibrocystic change, but it shows up most frequently in premenopausal women (ages 20 to 50). You're most likely to notice fibrocystic changes during your fertile years, when your hormones are cycling regularly. Fibrocystic changes can be felt in any area of your breast and may occur in one or both breasts. Intraductal papillomas, a tiny wart-like growth in breast tissue can sometimes puncture a duct. Having a ductogram can accurately guide your surgeon to the ducts that may need to be removed, in case of ductal carcinoma or intraductal papillomas.
A ductogram requires that a contrast agent be injected into the breast. A tiny tube (cannula) is used to put fluid into the breast duct. The injected contrast agent allows your milk ducts to show up clearly on a mammogram. Ductography is a very specialized procedure, and isn't available everywhere. A highly trained and experienced radiologist should do this procedure.
Your physician will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for your ductogram. Please inform your physician of any medications you are taking as well as any allergies you may have. Also inform your physician regarding a recent illness or other medical conditions.
Women should inform their physician if they are pregnant, or if there is any possibility they may be pregnant.
Radiation Dose: Special care is taken during X-Ray examinations to use of the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation.
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