Diagnostic Value of Ultrasound in Female Patients With Nipple Discharge.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of ultrasound to the evaluation of patients with pathologic nipple discharge. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of the records of females who presented with nipple discharge between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2011. Pathologic nipple discharge was defined as discharge with one or more of the following features: unilateral, clear or bloody, and spontaneous. Patients underwent bilateral mammography followed by ultrasound directed at the subareolar portion of the affected breast. Radiologic findings and pathologic results were reviewed. RESULTS: Over a 3-year period, 327 females (mean age, 48 years; range, 13-88 years) presented with nipple discharge. Among these patients, 273 (83%) underwent surgical excision or clinical or radiographic follow-up at least 2 years after presentation and composed the study population. Among the 273 patients, 262 (96%) underwent mammography and 246 (90%) underwent sonography. Among 252 patients who had at least one pathologic feature of nipple discharge and underwent surgical excision or at least 2 years of follow-up, a total of 20 (8%) cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or invasive adenocarcinoma were diagnosed. DCIS or invasive adenocarcinoma was diagnosed in eight patients with normal sonographic findings. For the detection of DCIS and invasive adenocarcinoma, the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound were 56% (10/18) and 75% (170/228); the sensitivity and specificity of mammography were 15% (3/20) and 98% (237/242). CONCLUSION: For females presenting with pathologic nipple discharge, ultrasound is a useful diagnostic tool and may be worth including in the routine evaluation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bahl, M; Baker, JA; Greenup, RA; Ghate, SV

Published Date

  • July 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 205 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 203 - 208

PubMed ID

  • 26102400

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1546-3141

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2214/AJR.14.13354


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States