Breast infection (including infectious mastitis and breast abscess) more commonly affects women aged 15-45 years, especially those who are lactating. Mastitis and breast abscess can occur at any age.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most frequent pathogen isolated.
Prompt and appropriate management of mastitis usually leads to a timely resolution and prevents complications, such as a breast abscess.
Treatment of infectious and non-infectious mastitis includes antibiotic therapy and effective milk removal if lactating.
Breast abscess requires removal of pus and antibiotic therapy. Surgical interventions can include aspiration and incision and drainage.
It is imperative to identify and treat any underlying co-existent causes of infection and to exclude breast carcinoma.
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast with or without infection. Mastitis with infection may be lactational (puerperal) or non-lactational (e.g., duct ectasia). Non-infectious mastitis includes idiopathic granulomatous inflammation and other inflammatory conditions (e.g., foreign body reaction). A breast abscess is a localised area of infection with a walled-off collection of pus. It may or may not be associated with mastitis.
Assistant Professor of Surgery
University of Massachusetts Medical School - Baystate
HSM declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Mason would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Jose A Martagon-Villamil, Dr Daniel Skiest, Dr Gina Berthold, and Dr Liron Pantanowitz, previous contributors to this topic.
National Institutes of Health
National Cancer Institute
ES declares that he has no competing interests.
Consultant Medical Oncologist/Senior Lecturer
Department of Medical Oncology
Imperial College/Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust
Charing Cross Hospital
JS declares that he has no competing interests.
The G. Rainey Williams Professor of Surgical Oncology
University of Oklahoma
WD declares that he has no competing interests.
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