Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
The female breast contains tube-like structures called ducts. When a woman is breastfeeding, these ducts bring milk from the milk-producing glands to the area around the nipple. This allows the milk to flow from the breast to the infant.
A ductogram is a test to create images of the breast ducts. It is done with a mammogram and special contrast dye.
A ductogram is done to look for the cause of abnormal discharge from the nipples.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.
Before the ductogram, your doctor may:
In the days leading up to the procedure, your doctor will ask you to avoid squeezing any discharge from the nipple. It’s important that there is discharge during the ductogram.
On the day of the ductogram:
There are different techniques to do this procedure. In general, you will be asked to lie on your back. The nipple area will be cleaned. Then the breast will be squeezed to release discharge. This will help your doctor determine which duct the discharge is coming from. A small, flexible tube will be inserted into the milk duct. The contrast dye will be injected through this tube. X-ray images will be taken of the breast after the contrast material is injected. Lastly, the cannula will be removed and a small bandage or pad will be placed over the nipple.
You may feel some discomfort during the procedure.
You will be able to go home after the ductogram. You can resume your normal activities. Leave the bandage or pad on since the contrast dye may leak out of the duct.
Talk to your doctor about the results. Your doctor may ask for other tests or procedures if there are any abnormal areas.
Call your doctor if you:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Office on Women’s Health
Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America
Women's Health Matters
Breast cancer overview. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003037-pdf.pdf. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Breast ductography. Radiopaedia website. Available at:
http://radiopaedia.org/articles/breast-ductography-1. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Ductography: How to and what if?
Galoctography (ductography). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=galactogram. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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