Acute mastitis / abscess

Topic Completed: 1 March 2010

Minor changes: 15 October 2020

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Acute mastitis breast abscess

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 6,917
Page views in 2020 to date: 5,951
Cite this page: Pernick N. Acute mastitis / abscess. website. Accessed October 28th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Mastitis occurs in 5 - 15% of postpartum primiparous women; 3% with mastitis have an abscess (BJOG 2004;111:1378)
  • Usually subareolar
  • Associated with lactation and cracks in nipple
  • Also associated with eczema, nipple dermatoses and postreduction mammoplasty
  • Bacteria often not isolated from culture
  • Pregnancy related infections are usually due to Staphylococcus; usually unilateral, often MRSA (Arch Surg 2007;142:881, Asian J Surg 2009;32:55), also Staphylococcus epidermidis (BMC Microbiol 2009;9:82)
  • Streptococcus usually causes diffuse infections leading to scarring but is uncommon today
  • Brucellosis is associated with ingestion of unpasteurized milk
  • Tuberculosis may occur in endemic areas (Med Princ Pract 2009;18:245)
  • Nonpregnancy related infections may be polymicrobial or associated with diabetes (Am J Med Sci 2009;338:123)
Clinical features
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Abscess (Fusarium)

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Central cavity with neutrophils and secretory material surrounded by inflammatory cells and eventually fibrosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Staph abscesses
are sharply demarcated;
bacteria are in
central cavity


Squamous metaplasia of lactiferous
ducts #1 plug of keratin debris
fills lactiferous duct which has
metaplastic squamous epithelium


Squamous metaplasia of lactiferous
ducts #2 squamocolumnar junction
is displaced, mild periductal
lymphocytes are present

Images hosted on other servers:

Breast abscess

Cytology description
Differential diagnosis
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