Bloody nipple discharge in children: possible etiologies and selection of appropriate therapy

Imamoglu M., Cay A., Reis A., Ozdemir O., Sapan L., Sarihan H.

PEDIATRIC SURGERY INTERNATIONAL, vol.22, no.2, pp.158-163, 2006 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00383-005-1559-6
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.158-163
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: No


An understanding of underlying causes of bloody nipple discharge (BND) is necessary to be able to advise treatment guidelines of this rare symptom in the pediatric age group. Of 11 patients with 14 breasts that had BND, data regarding age, sex, side and duration of BND, physical examination findings, laboratory values, culture reports, ultrasonography (US) findings, treatment approach, histopathologic details, and outcomes were obtained, and also, literature was reviewed. The patients were between 3 months and 12 years of age. There were six males and five females. The BND was located in the right breast in six patients, in the left in two, and it was bilateral in three. On physical examinations, seven patients had palpable cystic nodules located at the areolar area and three had a diffuse breast enlargement without skin findings. Laboratory investigations showed normal hormone levels in all patients. At US examinations, seven breasts had cystic lesions, three had hypoechoic tissue in the subareolar region, and others had normal US findings. In a girl with positive culture for Staphylococcus aureus, BND resolved after oral antibiotics. Two cases resolved spontaneously, with 6 months and 4 months follow-up periods, respectively. Surgical intervention was performed for the remaining eight patients, and mean time to operation after onset of symptoms was 10 months (range=1-34 months). Histopathologic findings showed that the underlying cause of BND was duct ectasia in five breasts, gynecomastia in three, and fibrocystic change in two. Their follow-up periods ranged between 3 months and 6 years, and no recurrences were observed. Classification of breasts with BND for selecting appropriate therapy on the basis of results of careful physical examination, with an US evaluation in selected cases, is effective, and prevents unnecessary investigations.