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Intraductal papilloma


Intraductal papilloma is a small, noncancerous (benign) tumor that grows in a milk duct of the breast.


Intraductal papilloma occurs most often in women ages 35 - 55. The causes and risk factors are unknown.


Exams and Tests

The health care provider might feel a small lump under the nipple, but this lump cannot always be felt. There may be discharge from the nipple.

A mammogram should be performed, but may not show a papilloma. Ultrasound may be helpful.

Other tests include:

  • A breast biopsy to rule out cancer. If you have nipple discharge, a surgical biopsy is performed. If you have a lump, sometimes a needle biopsy can be done to make a diagnosis.
  • An examination of discharge released from the breast to see if the cells are cancerous (malignant).
  • An x-ray with contrast dye injected into the affected duct (ductogram). This test has been mostly replaced by ultrasound.


The duct is removed with surgery. The cells are checked for cancer (biopsy).

Support Groups

There may be support groups for women with breast disease in your area. Ask your doctor or other health care provider for a recommendation.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is excellent for people with one papilloma. People with many papillomas, or who get them at an early age may have an increased risk of developing cancer. Risk may be higher if they have a family history of cancer or there are abnormal cells in the biopsy.

Possible Complications

Complications of surgery can include bleeding, infection, and anesthesia risks. If the biopsy shows cancer, you may need further surgery.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you notice any breast discharge or a breast lump.


There is no known way to prevent intraductal papilloma. Breast self-exams and screening mammograms can help detect the disease early.


Hunt KK, Green MC, Buccholz TA. Diseases of the breast. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 36.

Review Date:11/15/2013
Reviewed By:Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

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