Breast Nipple Discharge

  • Tech Only CPT
  • Tech Pro CPT
  • PowerPath Code NGNI
  • Schedule Monday - Friday
  • Turn Around Time 1-2 Days
  • Disease State Benign Conditions, Breast Cancer
  • Methodology Cytology

Specimen Requirements

1. Label the frosted end of the slide with the patient’s name, date of birth and specimen type.
2. If using liquid 95% ethyl alcohol , open the vial of fixative and have it ready on the counter.
3. Gently express only the nipple and subareolar area of any secretions lying in the collecting ducts. If no secretion appears at the nipple with gentle compression, do not manipulate further.
4. Allow a "pea-sized" drop of fluid to collect upon the nipple tip.
5. Immobilize the breast. Using the nipple, smear the material across a glass slide.
6. Immediately drop the slide into the bottle/vial of 95% ethyl alcohol or spray with cytology fixative. Time is of the essence. The smearing of the material across the slide and the dropping of the slide into the liquid fixative, or spray fixing the slide, should be accomplished in one motion.
7. Make as many smears as the amount of material allows. If using liquid 95% ethanol, put smears back to back in the bottle/vial. If using cytology spray fixative, allow the smears to dry before placing the slides in a slide container.
8. Please note that it is extremely important that both the slides and the slide containers be labeled with the patient name and date of birth.

Clinical Significance

Cellular morphology of cytologic specimens is interpreted to diagnose inflammatory, neoplastic and non-neoplastic conditions. In addition, cytologic diagnoses is used to monitor recurrent and metastatic malignant conditions.

Storage and Transportation

Transport at room temperature

Cause for Rejection

Slides broken beyond repair on receipt,specimen not properly preserved,specimen containers without two (2) patient identifiers.


Slides: 5 years


For spray-fixed specimens, allowing a smear to dry before fixation will render it unsatisfactory for cytologic evaluation. ยท Specimens collected in incorrect fixative may not be viable for processing.