Interventional Ductoscopy as an Alternative for Major Duct Excision or Microdochectomy in Women Suffering Pathologic Nipple Discharge: A Single-center Experience

Mando Dyko Filipe, Laurien Waaijer, Carmen van der Pol, Paul Joannes van Diest, Arjen Joost Witkamp

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Introduction: Pathologic nipple discharge (PND) is, after palpable lumps and pain, the most common breast-related reason for referral to the breast surgeon and is associated with breast cancer. However, with negative mammography and ultrasound, the chance of PND being caused by malignancy is between 5% and 8%. Nevertheless, most patients with PND still undergo surgery in order to rule out malignancy. Ductoscopy is a minimally invasive endoscopic technique that enables direct intraductal visualization. The aim of this study was to evaluate (interventional) ductoscopy as an alternative to surgery in patients with negative conventional imaging. Materials and Methods: All patients with PND referred between 2010 and 2017 to our hospital for ductoscopy were retrospectively analyzed. Ductoscopy procedures were performed under local anesthesia in the outpatient clinic. The follow-up period was at least 3 months, and the primary outcome was the number of prevented surgical procedures. Furthermore, we evaluated possible complications after ductoscopy (infection and pain). Results: A total of 215 consecutive patients undergoing ductoscopy were analyzed. In 151 (70.2%) patients, ductoscopy was successful. In 102 procedures, an underlying cause for PND was visualized, of which 34 patients could be histologically proven and 82 patients treated. Sixty of the 215 patients were eventually operated, 8 owing to suspicious findings during ductoscopy, 42 owing to persistent PND, and 10 because of recurrent PND. In 7 patients, a malignancy was found (5 of them classified as suspicious at dusctoscopy). No serious side effects were seen. Conclusion: Ductoscopy can be safely used as an alternative for surgery in the workup for PND. Ductoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that is currently used to detect, and sometimes remove, lesions that cause pathologic nipple discharge (PND). This study shows that ductoscopy is an alternative for surgery in patients with PND that have negative conventional imagery for breast cancer. Additionally, this study shows that ductoscopy has a high sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive value for the detection of breast cancer in patients with PND with negative conventional imagery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e334-e343
JournalClinical breast cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Benign
  • Ductoscopy
  • Endoscopy
  • Minimally invasive
  • Surgery


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