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Intraductal Papilloma

An intraductal papilloma is a noncancerous (benign) small growth inside a milk duct in the breast. It may appear on the skin near the nipple as a growth that looks like a wart.

Single intraductal papillomas often occur in women nearing menopause. They can produce a bloody or sticky nipple discharge. Multiple intraductal papillomas are more likely to occur in younger women. They may be found in both breasts and are more likely to cause a lump than nipple discharge.

Intraductal papillomas usually are first suspected from an evaluation of symptoms and a breast exam. A diagnosis can be confirmed with:

  • Mammogram (breast X-ray). Women younger than 35 may have a ultrasound of the breast rather than a mammogram.
  • Laboratory examination of cells from the growth. Cells from the intraductal papilloma may be collected using a small needle and syringe (fine-needle aspiration) or by taking a tissue sample (core biopsy).

It is important to have an intraductal papilloma, as well as any other breast changes, evaluated and closely monitored by a doctor. You may not need treatment. But an intraductal papilloma and the affected duct can be removed if symptoms do not go away or are bothersome.

Last Revised: June 13, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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