Ductal lavage is a minimally-invasive procedure that permits sampling of breast ductal fluids for cytopathologic analysis. The technique is performed with topical anesthesia and involves cannulation of any fluid-yielding nipple orifice with a specially-designed catheter for lavage and aspiration of the ductal system. The procedure is used for women who have clinical evidence of increased breast cancer risk; if atypia is detected, it may strengthen a woman's interest in committing to a risk-reducing strategy or a chemoprevention trial. The technology also is being used as a tool in ongoing translational research studies.
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