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William C Dooley, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Anees B Chagpar, MD, MSc, MA, MPH, MBA, FACS, FRCS(C)
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Mammary ductoscopy is an endoscopic technique that allows for direct visualization and sampling of intraductal lesions [1-7]. Ductoscopy has been used more widely in breast surgery in Asia with the advent of durable submillimeter endoscopes and duct distention techniques. However, ductoscopy is not commonly performed in the United States [8-16].

In this topic, we discuss the use of ductoscopy to diagnose and treat conditions such as pathologic nipple discharge and early-stage breast cancer. Other aspects of nipple discharge are discussed elsewhere. (See "Nipple discharge" and "Surgical management of pathologic nipple discharge".)


Ductoscopy provides a way to directly visualize and sample or excise lesions in the mammary ducts. The indications for performing a ductoscopy include:

Pathologic nipple discharge from a single duct orifice (bloody or high-volume clear fluid)

Known breast lesions (atypical ductal hyperplasia [ADH], ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS], or invasive cancer) with expressible nipple fluid


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Nov 16, 2015.
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