DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad258.206 ISSN:

90 Breast Abscess Management: What Is Best for Breast?

C Tam, R Lane, R Sinnatamby
  • Surgery



To assess the speed of resolution of breast abscesses presenting to the unit.

There is significant variation in the management of breast abscesses between units at a national level. Whilst the MAMMA study results are awaited, we wished to understand our unit’s outcomes in order to improve the patient journey.


A single centre retrospective service evaluation of acute breast abscesses. The project was approved on the hospitals online QSIS system. The data was collected by interrogating the health records database using the following criteria: female, minimum age 16, presenting between 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2021. ICD codes for; breast abscess and/or breast infection were analysed with Excel (v16.40).


298 notes were reviewed as a representative sample of outcomes (n = 700). 73 patients (24.5%) were correctly coded to have a breast abscess. The median age was 41 years (IQR 50-29.5). All received an USS scan within 24 hours. The cohort was stratified along smokers (32%) and lactational (23%) risk factors. Smokers were most likely to require I&D (39%) and had the longest duration of antibiotics (24 days). The median time for resolution was similar between those treated with serial aspirations (40 days) and those who needed I&D (42 days).


The study demonstrated prompt access to USS and aspirations. Each abscess presentation took approximately 1 month to resolve and needed 4 visits to the unit. This aspect of care is an area for improvement so that we can streamline the process and take pressure off valuable clinic slots.

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