Breast abscess

Mary is 36 years old and is breast-feeding her 5-week old baby son. Six days ago her left breast became red, swollen and painful. A diagnosis of mastitis was made and she was started on antibiotics by her GP. She has continued to breast-feed but the breast remains painful and swollen.

Clinical examination confirms that the left breast is red, swollen and warm to touch

Ultrasound performed at time of clinical exam shows a large abscess in the left breast.

After discussion with Mary this was drained immediately under local anaesthetic and ultrasound guidance.6cc of pus was aspirated and a sample sent for culture and sensitivity to determine what type of bacterium was involved.

Breast Abcess
Abscess seen on ultrasound

Progress:  She continued on antibiotics and required 2 further aspirations over the next 5 days before the infection resolved.

She was also referred to the lactation consultant for advice regarding positioning of her baby during breast-feeding and nipple care as the most common cause for lactational mastitis is infection as a result of cracked and damaged nipples.

The abscess resolved and she was able to continue breast-feeding.

 
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Trevor Smith MBChB FCS

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