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Microdochectomy

Microdochectomy is the surgical removal (excision) of a single breast duct, which is a tube that, following pregnancy, carries breast milk to the nipple.

Purpose/Benefits

This procedure is usually done when there is a fairly large amount of persistent and unexplained discharge from the nipple or when there is blood mixed in with the discharge. It may also be done to treat recurrent breast abscess and mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue).

Preparation depends on the type of anesthesia used. You will probably not be able to drive after the procedure so please make sure you have a family member or friend accompany you after the procedure, at hospital and at home. If general anesthesia is used, you will undergo a health screening that includes a physical examination, blood tests, chest x-ray, and electrocardiogram (EKG).

Please let the doctor know about all medication that you are taking as some may need to be stopped before the procedure. Please also let your doctor know if you have any allergies to medication or medical equipment. You will likely have to avoid all food and water for six to eight hours before the procedure, or as recommended by the doctor.

A microdochectomy is performed under general anesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure. A small incision is made either around the areola or around the base of the nipple, exposing the affected duct. The duct is then removed and sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. The skin is then closed with absorbable stitches.

You will be moved to a recovery area for a few hours so that your vital signs can be monitored. Once the effect of the anesthesia has worn off, you may be able to return home the same day or the next day. A waterproof dressing will be placed over the incision so you should be able to shower on the day of the surgery, but it is recommended that you try to keep the area dry for a few days. The incision is likely to be red and uncomfortable for up to two weeks and there may be some swelling.

Avoid driving for 24 hours and heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks. You may return to work after a day or two, if you feel comfortable doing so.

  • Swelling or bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Altered or loss of nipple sensation. (In some cases this may result in the inability to breastfeed from the affected nipple.)
  • A dent or depression where the duct was removed.
  • Nipple necrosis.

·        If you are taking any blood-thinning medication/anticoagulant, please let your doctor know as some may need to be stopped before you travel for the procedure.

·        Travelers to Thailand should plan to stay in the country for at least two weeks or for the entire duration of treatment.

·        If you plan to return home after the procedure, please speak to your doctor before making travel arrangements.

·        During your follow-up appointment your medical team will assess your health and your incision and you will receive documents detailing your medical and treatment history and your "Fit to Fly" certificate (if needed).

The success of the procedure depends on a number of factors. Please discuss the likelihood of success with your doctor before the procedure.


What if this procedure is not performed?

Without this procedure, your symptoms will persist and likely worsen. Please discuss specific risks of not having the procedure done with your doctor.

There are currently no alternatives to microdochectomy. You may choose not to undergo this procedure, but keep in mind that your condition will likely worsen and your doctor will not be able to diagnose its cause without this procedure.

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