Breast nonmalignant
Acute mastitis / breast abscess

Topic Completed: 1 March 2010

Revised: 30 May 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Acute mastitis breast abscess

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2018: 5,550
Page views in 2019 to date: 4,292
Cite this page: Pernick N Acute mastitis / breast abscess. website. Accessed August 21st, 2019.
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 fig 32: 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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