A Comparison of Ductoscopy-Guided and Conventional Surgical Excision in Women With Spontaneous Nipple Discharge

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Introduction:Radiologic imaging is routinely used to evaluate women with spontaneous nipple discharge (SND), but definitive diagnosis is usually only achieved by surgical terminal duct excision (TDE). Ductoscopy has been reported to result in improved localization of intraductal lesions and may avoid surgery in women with endoscopically normal ducts.Materials and Methods:We conducted a retrospective review of the records of 117 consecutive women who underwent ductoscopy to guide ductal excision (scope-DE) or received conventional TDE without ductoscopy. Two women had atypical ductal lavage cytology and the remainder presented with SND from 1 or more duct. Preoperative evaluation included radiologic imaging as clinically indicated.Results:Fifty-nine women underwent scope-DE, and 58 underwent conventional TDE. There were no significant differences in age, race, discharge characteristics, or radiologic findings. The proportion of women with intraductal neoplasia was slightly greater in the group undergoing scope-DE (88% vs. 81%, P = 0.2). In the conventional TDE group, 8.5% were found to have atypical hyperplasia or duct carcinoma in situ compared with 18.6% in the scope-DE group. In the ductoscopy group, 22 of 59 (37.3%) had lesions >5 cm from the nipple, compared with 1 of 17 women for whom distance of the lesion from the nipple was known in the conventional group (P = 0.02). Of the ductoscopy-detected cancers, 5 of 6 had no symptoms other than SND, whereas 1 of the 4 malignancies in the conventional group presented as SND alone.Discussions:Ductoscopy identifies intraductal lesions in a high proportion of women with SND, and it may contribute to more accurate resection of these. A prospective study is required to obtain an unbiased assessment of these possible advantages.

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