Galactography for Imaging the Breast Ducts
Galactography, also called Ductography is a special type of x-ray examination that uses mammography, a low-dose x-ray system for examining breasts, and a contrast material for imaging the breast ducts. These images are called galactograms.
Although ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are excellent ways to image the breast but they do not visualize the inside of the breast’s milk ducts as Ductography. Galactography is conducted to diagnose the cause of an abnormal nipple discharge and can be useful in diagnosing intraductal papillomas.
The ductogram image shows a small, round nodule in the left branch of the breast duct. It may be difficult to perform ductography in women having severe allergies to the contrast media used during the procedure. Women with severe nipple retraction might find it difficult to undergo ductography.
The ductography procedure takes around half an hour. Before starting the procedure the nipple is cleaned and sterilized with an alcohol swab or other material to remove any dried discharge. Manual pressure is applied to the breast to draw out a fluid discharge. On identification of the discharging duct, the radiologist inserts a blunt tipped cannula into the patient’s breast duct. After inserting the cannula a contrast media is injected into the breast for taking images. This procedure can be mildly uncomfortable but not painful. If there is significant fluid discharge, the entire process is much easier to perform and less uncomfortable for the patient.
Ductography is a specialized procedure performed by radiologists with significant experience with ductography at selected health care locations.