Nipple discharge: role of ductoscopy in comparison with standard diagnostic tests

Onkologie. 2013;36(1-2):12-6. doi: 10.1159/000346639. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


Background: This study aims to assess the role of ductoscopy for detecting intraductal anomalies in patients with nipple discharge in comparison to conventional tests and to find an effective combination of both approaches.

Materials and methods: Prior to duct excision, ductoscopy was performed in 97 women. Histologic and all other diagnostic results were compared. Sensitivity, specificity, and efficiency were calculated for all methods. These parameters were also calculated for all possible test combinations in 12 patients who had completed all tests.

Results: Breast sonography reached the highest sensitivity (64.1%) and efficiency (64%); mammography had the highest specificity (100%). The sensitivity of ductoscopy was 53.2%, its specificity 60%, and its efficiency 55.1%. Among combinations of all methods, the combination ductoscopy + galactography was the most sensitive (80%). Mammography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ductoscopy were each 100% specific. Ductoscopy was the most efficient (75%) single method.

Conclusion: Ductoscopy is a valuable test for diagnosing intraductal lesions in patients with nipple discharge. It is more efficient than conventional tests in patients undergoing all tests.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nipples / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult