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Asian J Surg. 2007 Jan;30(1):40-4.

Aspiration of breast abscess under ultrasound guidance: outcome obtained and factors affecting success.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



To assess ultrasonographically (US) guided needle aspiration of breast abscesses as an alternative to surgical incision and drainage.


In our prospective study, 30 patients with 31 breast abscesses (one patient had bilateral breast abscess) underwent percutaneous breast abscess drainage under US guidance with local anaesthesia and oral antibiotics between 1 January 2004 and 31 March 2005. These patients consisted of 16 (53.3%) non-lactating and 14 (46.7%) lactating women, with ages ranging from 18 to 68 years (median, 28 years). The racial distribution comprised 26 (86.7%) Malays, three (10%) Chinese and one (3.3%) Indian. All patients had the chief complaint of breast swelling and 25 (83.3%) had breast pain. Clinically, 28 (93.3%) were found to have a palpable mass. Nine (30%) lesions were in the upper outer quadrant of the left breast. US diameters ranged from 1 to 15 cm (median, 4 cm). The pus volumes varied from 1 to 200 mL (median, 14 mL).


Fifteen (50%) patients required only a single aspiration, 10 required multiple aspirations and five required incision and drainage. Those patients in whom needle aspiration failed had multiloculated lesions irrespective of abscess volume and size.


Needle aspiration with ultrasound guidance is an effective treatment for breast abscess irrespective of abscess volume and size.

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