This technique is primarily aimed at high risk women and is used in detecting and diagnosing pre-cancerous and cancerous breast cell changes. This test because of its process is also known as “pap smear” of the breast. in this technique suction is applied to the nipple of the breasts to empty out fluid from the milk ducts of the breast. then the milk duct is fitted with a tiny tube or canula, fluid is sent into the duct which rinses out cells from the milk ducts in to the tube with the fluid. This is then emptied out and tested in laboratories. This is a pathological examination of the cells withdrawn, and is done under a microscope. This is not a painful or highly discomforting procedure. The only discomfort a woman may feel is the vacumming of the nipples, the tubes placed in the ducts simply feel like poking. Also anesthetic cream may be applied to the nipple area to numb it prior to performing the test.
Ductal lavage only confirms the possibility of presence of cancer cells but it does not pin point the exact location of the onset of cancerous growth. As such it has to be used in combination with other tests for a definite result.