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Breast Infection (cont.)

Exams and Tests

The diagnosis of mastitis and breast abscess can usually be made based on a physical examination.

  • If it is unclear whether a mass is due to a fluid-filled abscess or to a solid mass such as a tumor, a test such as an ultrasound may be done. An ultrasound may also be helpful in distinguishing between simple mastitis and abscess or in diagnosing an abscess deep in the breast. This noninvasive test allows your doctor to directly visualize the abscess by placing an ultrasound probe over your breast. If an abscess is confirmed, aspiration or surgical drainage, and IV antibiotics, are often required.

  • Cultures may be taken, either of breast milk or of material aspirated (taken out through a syringe) from an abscess, to determine the type of organism causing the infection. This information can help your doctor decide what kind of antibiotic to use.

    • Organism is usually staphylococcus aureus

    • Some infections may due to MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus), a form of staphylococcus that is resistant to treatment with most antibiotics.

  • Nonbreastfeeding women with mastitis, or those who do not respond to treatment, may require a mammogram or breast biopsy. This is a precautionary measure because a rare type of breast cancer can produce symptoms of mastitis.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Breast Abscesses and Masses »

Breast masses can be broadly classified as benign or malignant.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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