Microdochectomy is an operation to remove a single duct leading to the nipple. This is done when a woman has noticed persistent discharge from a single duct, in particular, when the discharge is clear and watery or blood-stained.
The operation is done under general anaesthetic. Once asleep, a slender probe is passed into the discharging duct. The surgeon then makes an incision along the line of the probe, usually resulting in an incision that runs radially away from the nipple. The duct is then dissected out and sent for analysis by the pathologist. The wound is then sutured and a dressing applied.
If the surgeon is unable to pass a probe into the duct, a total duct excision would be carried out instead.

Once the pathologist has examined the tissue under the microscope (which can take two to three weeks), we will arrange an appointment to see you for a wound check and the results. Usually no further action is required but cancerous cells (either ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS, or invasive cancer) are found occasionally and further treatment would be advised.
Microdochectomy is an operation which can have short- and long-term complications which include bleeding; haematoma; infection; seroma; pain; numbness/altered sensation; altered nipple reactivity; nerve or blood vessel injury and visible dent or defect and scarring. Scarring can take up to two years to mature fully. Some patients find that massaging a scar once it has healed can help to soften it and reduce discomfort.
Nipple discharge
Total duct excision