The lactiferous duct system of the breast is the site of development of various benign and malignant lesions. Asymptomatic patients may have incidental diagnosis of ductal dilation on mammography. A mass or area of calcifications identified on mammography as suspicious and subsequently biopsied may represent a lesion of a primary lactiferous duct. The smaller terminal ducts are the site of development of most cancers and hyperplasias. In patients who present with the symptom of nipple discharge, a clinical assessment is made to determine the potential significance of the finding. In patients with uniorificial, spontaneous and suspicious discharge, further evaluation with galactography is recommended. In this article we will review the benign and malignant lesions of the main lactiferous ducts, the assessment of asymptomatic patients with ductal dilation on mammography, and the assessment of patients with abnormal nipple discharge.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging