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Breast J. 2016 Jan-Feb;22(1):111-2. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12528. Epub 2015 Nov 20.

Milk Fistula: Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment.

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Department of General Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.
Breast Services, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.


Milk fistula is an uncommon condition which occurs when there is an abnormal connection that forms between the skin surface and the duct in the breast of a lactating woman, resulting in spontaneous and often constant drainage of milk from this path of least resistance. A milk fistula is usually a complication that results from a needle biopsy or surgical intervention in a lactating patient. Here, the authors present an unusual case of a spontaneous milk fistula which developed from an abscess in the breast of a lactating woman. The patient initially presented to the office with a large open wound on her breast, formed from skin breakdown, within which milk was pooling. She was treated with local wound care and cessation of breastfeeding, with appropriate healing of the wound and closure of the fistula with 6 weeks. Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of milk fistula were reviewed.


breastfeeding; imaging; milk fistula

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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