Other nonneoplastic


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Last staff update: 10 November 2022

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PubMed Search: Galactocele breast

Fatima Khalid, M.B.B.S.
Naila Kayani, M.D.
Page views in 2022: 11,995
Page views in 2023 to date: 5,751
Cite this page: Khalid F, Anjum S, Kayani N. Galactocele. website. Accessed June 2nd, 2023.
Definition / general
Essential features
ICD coding
  • ICD-10: N64.89 - other specified disorders of breast
Clinical features
Radiology description
Radiology images

Images hosted on other servers:
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Cyst with circumscribed rounded margins

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Oval shaped mass with hypoechoic rim

Prognostic factors
Case reports
Gross description
  • Circumscribed to oval lesions usually ranging in size from 1 - 6 cm; cut section showing cyst filled with thin yellow fluid
Gross images

Contributed by Nasir Ud Din, M.B.B.S.

Oval multicystic lesion with well circumscribed borders

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Multiple variable sized anastomosing cysts that are lined by cuboidal or flat epithelial cells
  • Lining epithelium exhibits regular nuclei with cytoplasmic vacuolations due to lipid accumulation
  • Apocrine metaplasia may be seen
  • Intact cysts are surrounded by fibrous wall of varying thickness
  • Little to no inflammatory reaction, unless leakage of cyst contents occurs
  • Fat necrosis can be present (Hoda: Rosen's Breast Pathology, 5th Edition, 2020)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Saba Anjum, M.B.B.S.

Multiple variable sized anastomosing cysts

Cystic lesion lined by cuboidal epithelium

Proteinaceous material

Cyst lined by cuboidal epithelium

Galactocele with lactational change and mild fibrosis

Cytology description
  • Thick, chalky white material with a gritty sensation during aspiration; well defined purple crystals, which show positive birefringence
  • Granular, amorphous, proteinaceous material in the background admixed with frothy appearing lipid micelles
  • Absence of distinct epithelial fragments, bipolar nuclei and fibrous stroma (J Cytol 2020;37:149, StatPearls: Galactocele [Accessed 21 September 2022])
Cytology images

Contributed by Dhiraj B. Nikumbh, M.D.

27 year old woman with 1.5 cm nontender breast nodule and fine needle aspiration cytology

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Dark purple crystals in a proteinaceous background

Sample pathology report
  • Breast, excision:
    • Galactocele (see comment)
    • Comment: It is a benign condition with no recurrence.
    • Microscopic description: Breast tissue exhibiting dilated anastomosing channels lined by cuboidal epithelium with secretory activity. Adjacent tissue shows secretory change and fibroinflammatory reaction with foamy macrophages. No evidence of granulomatous or neoplastic processes are seen.
Differential diagnosis
Board review style question #1

34 year old lactating mother presented with the history of a palpable lump in the left breast. Breast ultrasound examination showed a circumscribed cystic lesion. Histology is shown in the picture above. What is the diagnosis?

  1. Fibroadenoma
  2. Galactocele
  3. Hamartoma
  4. Invasive breast carcinoma of no special type
  5. Lactating adenoma
Board review style answer #1
B. Galactocele

Comment Here

Reference: Galactocele
Board review style question #2
Galactocele formation is related to which of the following conditions?

  1. Age of the mother
  2. Duct obstruction
  3. Estrogen effect
  4. Family history
  5. Number of pregnancies
Board review style answer #2
B. Duct obstruction

Comment Here

Reference: Galactocele
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