Duct ectasia is a benign, non- cancerous condition caused as breast tissue ages. It may not cause any symptoms at all, but can occasionally cause the nipple to become pulled inwards (inverted) as the milk ducts become shorter and widened. It can also lead to nipple discharge which may vary in colour including cream, green, brown, watery and on occasion blood-stained.
After referral to the breast clinic we will discuss your symptoms, and you will be offered a breast examination. It is common to recommend a mammogram (breast x-ray) and an ultrasound scan.
Most cases of duct ectasia don’t need any specific treatment as it is not a condition which puts you at any health risks, and does not increase your risk of breast cancer. If you continue to have discharge from the nipple which doesn’t settle and has a significant impact on your quality of life, you may choose to undergo an operation to disconnect and remove the milk ducts below the nipple to treat these symptoms.
This operation is normally carried out under a general anaesthetic in the operating theatre and can often be done as a day case procedure. Some younger patients may choose to have only part of their milk ducts removed if they wish to consider breast feeding in the future, but many patients may choose to have all the ducts below their nipple removed. It leaves a scar around the edge of the lower half of the areola skin which will often fade in the fullness of time leaving a good aesthetic outcome.
As with any operation, there are advantages and disadvantages which are important to consider when deciding if it is the right thing for you to undertake.
Discussion with Rachel is important to answer any questions that you may have. For information about any additional conditions not featured within the site, please contact us for more information.