Breast Infection: A Review of Diagnosis and Management Practices


  • Eve Boakes
  • Amy Woods
  • Natalie Johnson
  • Naim Kadoglou

Received Date: 24.01.2018 Accepted Date: 08.03.2018 Eur J Breast Health 2018;14(3):136-143

Mastitis is a common condition that predominates during the puerperium. Breast abscesses are less common, however when they do develop, delays in specialist referral may occur due to lack of clear protocols. In secondary care abscesses can be diagnosed by ultrasound scan and in the past the management has been dependent on the receiving surgeon. Management options include aspiration under local anesthetic or more invasive incision and drainage (I&D). Over recent years the availability of bedside/clinic based ultrasound scan has made diagnosis easier and minimally invasive procedures have become the cornerstone of breast abscess management. We review the diagnosis and management of breast infection in the primary and secondary care setting, highlighting the importance of early referral for severe infection/breast abscesses. As a clear guideline on the management of breast infection is lacking, this review provides useful guidance for those who rarely see breast infection to help avoid long-term morbidity.

Keywords: Mastitis, abscess, infection, lactation