Cytology, Breast Nipple Secretion

Sunquest Code:NGNCTCoPath Code:NGYN
Epic Code:LAB4600Epic Name:Cytology Non Gyn
Sunquest Code (non-Epic sites):COPATH  
Synonyms:Breast Aspiration Cytology; Nipple Secretion; Cytology Breast
Methodology:Preparation, staining with Papanicolaou and/or Wright-Giemsa stain and microscopic evaluation
Test Includes:Preparation, routine staining, and microscopic evaluation; if special stains or immunohistochemical procedures are indicated, they are ordered by the pathologist and performed at additional charge.
Turnaround Time:Performed Mon-Fri, 0800-1500; results are reported within 1-3 days.
Special Instructions:Provide pertinent clinical history. See Cytology Find Needle Aspirate for breast aspirates.

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Nipple secretion
Container:Microscope slides
Collection Instructions:
  • Label the two slides with the patient's first and last name, date of birth and specimen site in pencil on the frosted end.
  • Collect a small amount of nipple secretion directly onto one of the slides. Oppose a second glass slide onto the first, allowing the collected material to provide surface tension between the two slides, and then gently and quickly pull the two slides apart in a horizontal motion to distribute the material in a thin film over both slides.
  • The smears should be immediately fixed either by spray fixative (spray until slides are visibly wet) or in 95% ethyl alcohol to prevent air drying.
  • Submit the specimen and the completed test request form to the Cytopathology Laboratory.
Causes for Rejection:Syringe with needle attached.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Store at room temperature.
Shipping Instructions:Ship slides in protective slide holder at room temperature.
Stability:Fresh unfixed fluid: 24 hours at room temperature; 72 hours refrigerated; frozen is unacceptable.
Fixed or unfixed slides: Ambient
Test Performed at or Referral Lab Cytology  (UMMC-East Bank, Fairview Ridges - FRH, Fairview Southdale - FSH, UMMC/UMMCH-West Bank)


Reference Range:Results reported as negative to positive for malignant cells or other abnormalities.
Use:Establish the presence of primary or metastatic malignant neoplasms; differential diagnosis of benign versus malignant processes.

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