A breast abscess is a collection of pus that forms - usually just under the skin of the breast. Bacteria can form in the breast tissue or a milk duct can become blocked. Left untreated an abscess forms. Abscesses are very uncommon in women who are not breast feeding.

Initially your GP may prescribe antibiotics. If your symptoms do not respond to conservative treatments your GP may refer you to a specialist for further examination.

Your specialist may order a breast ultrasound to confirm you have an abscess. If your abscess is confirmed it can be treated by draining

What happens during breast abscess draining?

Small breast abscesses can be drained using a fine needle. Your surgeon will numb the area using local anaesthetic. Sometimes they will use ultrasound to help guide the needle to the exact location of the abscess. 

Larger abscesses may require a minor surgical procedure. Your surgeon will numb the area using local anaesthetic and make a small incision (cut) in the area over the abscess to allow it to drain. 

A dressing will be placed over the area to keep it clean and dry. 

Your length of stay in hospital will depend on the size of the abscess and the method your surgeon used to drain it. To minimise your risk of complications follow any instructions regarding care of your wound and take any medication you are given as prescribed.

What are the complications of breast abscess?

As with any medical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Chronic infection
  • Scarring
  • Sepsis (bacteria blood infection)
  • Chronic pain

Be sure and discuss any concerns you have regarding complications with a member of our healthcare team.


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