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How is a galactogram for nipple discharge performed?

The initial radiologic evaluation of nipple discharge includes a mammogram. If no abnormality is visible, a galactogram may be indicated. The duct must be discharging on the day of the study in order to identify the correct orifice to be cannulated. A tiny blunt-tipped catheter (called a cannula) is inserted into the discharging duct and a small (approximately 1 ml) amount of contrast agent is injected. Additional mammographic images are obtained. Some patients report a sensation of "fullness" during the examination, but no sharp pain or burning should be experienced. If an abnormality is detected on the galactogram, surgical excision is recommended.

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