Nipple Discharge

Unilateral Nipple Discharge – spontaneous and persistent

  • Associated with a increased risk of carcinoma.
  • Can be clear, serous, serosanguinous or bloody
  • Nipple aspirate cytology isn’t popular as a diagnostic
  • Most common etiologies are intraductal papilloma and mammary duct ectasia
  • Doesn’t matter what’s found on radiology, open surgical biopsy is preferred
  • Directed duct excision plus excision of the surround area after ductogram. ┬áRule out papillary carcinoma of the breast.
  • Central duct excision (non-directed duct excision) is not as accurate.
  • If the lesion is deep, radiologist may help with needle localization with excision
  • DCIS = Ductal Carcinoma In Situ is the malignancy most commolny found in intraductal lesions with pathological nipple discharge.
  • Papillary carcinoma of the breast is a subset of DCIS.

Intraductal Papilloma

  • Benign
  • Most common cause of bloody nipple discharge
  • A single intraductal papilloma doesn’t increase the risk of breast cancer, but multiple papillomas does increase the risk slightly.

Mammary duct ectasia

  • Milk ducts beneath the nipple become dilated, thickened, and filled with fluid and thus have some discharge
  • Benign
  • Often improves without treatment.