Mapping the Breast Ducts

Mapping Breast Ducts in Lactating Women With Automated Whole Breast 3D Ultrasound

Most of human anatomy is well understood, but the breast and its ducts remain largely understudied. Since breast cancer is believed to start in the lining of the breast ducts, understanding the ductal system is necessary to finding the cause. Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research is mapping the breast duct system so surgeons, especially those who are operating on women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), will be able to identify the area of the breast involved and the usual pattern of ducts in that area.


Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research is creating the first map of the human breast duct system.

In this exploratory study, DSLRF is using Automated Whole Breast 3D Ultrasound to uncover the normal ductal patterns in lactating women. Lactating women are ideal for this study because they already have fluid in their ductal system, allowing the ducts to be seen on ultrasound. During the procedure an ultrasound transducer will be guided over the participant’s breasts, collecting 3,000 – 5,000 images to produce a 3D image of their breast tissue.

The study calls for collecting whole breast ultrasound images on at least 200-250 women in an effort to determine the usual anatomy of the breast ductal systems. A respected collaborating institution, skilled in imaging and data analysis, is being sent the de-identified images from the ultrasounds. After comparison and analysis, the goal is to build a model of the breast duct system.

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