Mastitis

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 01 Jan 2021

Mastitis (rare plural: mastitides) refers to inflammation of the breast parenchyma, of which there are a number of subtypes:

Clinically, the breast will be indurated, red and painful. Nipple retraction may also be evident. Nodal enlargement is common. The patient may often have systemic symptoms such as fever or leukocytosis.

On mammography, bacterial (puerperal or non-puerperal) mastitis will usually feature ill-defined regions of increased density and skin thickening. 

On ultrasound,  ill-defined area of altered echotexture with hyperechogenicity representing infiltrated and inflamed fat lobules, hypoechoic areas in the glandular parenchyma, and associated mild skin thickening are seen. Inflammatory axillary lymph nodes may also be encountered. Occasionally abscess formation may be visible.

It is important to consider inflammatory breast cancer as a potential differential.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: plasma cell mastitis
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  • Case 2: plasma cell mastitis
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  • Case 3: plasma cell mastitis and left breast cancer
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  • Case 4: puerperal interstitial mastitis
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