Breast Pathology

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anna Sapino, Janina Kulka


  • Noëlle WeingertnerEmail author
  • Jean-Pierre Bellocq
Reference work entry


Pyogenic mastitis


A breast abscess is defined as a collection of infected fluid or pus within the breast.

Breast abscesses are mainly classified as “puerperal” (or “lactational”) – related to childbirth – and “non-puerperal.” In a non-puerperal context, the subareolar abscess is the most frequently observed. Other rarer situations include peripheral non-puerperal abscesses, neonatal infections, skin-associated infections, infections associated with breast surgery, with medical or non-medical procedures, and unusual infections. Abscesses represent 3–4% of all benign breast masses (Kasales et al. 2014).

In this chapter, we will detail the most frequent presentations of breast abscesses, namely, puerperal abscesses and non-puerperal periareolar or subareolar abscesses.

Puerperal Abscess

Puerperal abscess is the natural course of acute puerperal mastitis. It occurs at the end of pregnancy but especially during lactation. Clinically, it presents with the same symptoms...

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References and Further Reading

  1. D’Alfonso, T. M., Ginter, P. S., & Shin, S. J. (2015). A review of inflammatory processes of the breast with a focus on diagnosis in core biopsy samples. Journal of Pathology and Translational Medicine, 49(4), 279–287.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Habif, D. V., Perzin, K. H., Lipton, R., & Lattes, R. (1970). Subareolar abscess associated with squamous metaplasia of the lactiferous ducts. American Journal of Surgery, 119, 523–526.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Kasales, C. J., Han, B., Stanley Smith, J., Jr., Chetlen, A. L., Kaneda, H. J., & Shereef, S. (2014). Nonpuerperal mastitis and subareolar abscess of the breast. American Journal of Roentgenology, 202, W133–W139.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Kataria, K., Srivastava, A., & Dhar, A. (2013). Management of lactational mastitis and breast abscesses: review of current knowledge and practice. Indian Journal of Surgery, 75(6), 430–435.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Mahoney, M. C., & Ingram, A. D. (2014). Breast emergencies: types, imaging features, and management. American Journal of Roentgenology, 202(4), W390–W399.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Pereira, F. A., Mudgil, A. V., Macias, E. S., & Karsif, K. (2012). Idiopathic granulomatous lobular mastitis. International Journal of Dermatology, 51(2), 142–151.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Weidner, N. (2012). Infections of the breast. In D. J. Dabbs (Ed.), Breast pathology (pp. 34–43). Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyStrasbourg University HospitalStrasbourgFrance