Objective: To present our experience of isolated tuberculosis of the breast, 1988-98.
Design: Retrospective study of case notes and radiographs.
Setting: Hamad General Hospital, Qatar.
Subjects: 13 multiparous women with tuberculosis of the breast.
Main outcome measures: Objective confirmation of diagnosis and adequacy of treatment.
Results: We found an overall incidence of histologically confirmed tuberculosis to be 0.4%/year. All patients presented with a lump, 2 had nipple discharge and one had a palpable axillary node on the same side. 7 were treated by excision biopsy, 3 by incision and drainage, and 3 had fine needle aspiration (FNA) as their only procedure. All diagnoses were confirmed histologically. 2 patients developed recurrences during treatment but these were successfully treated.
Conclusion: Although the incidence of the disease is low, the diagnosis should be suspected in young multiparous women with a breast lump in whom malignancy has been excluded. The minimum of surgical intervention (incision or excision biopsy) together with antituberculous drugs seems to be the most successful treatment.