Needle aspiration of breast abscesses

Am J Surg. 2001 Aug;182(2):117-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9610(01)00683-3.


Background: Traditional treatment of breast abscesses involves incision and drainage, with and without ultrasound guidance. These procedures cause considerable discomfort and morbidity for the patient. This study was conducted to determine whether needle aspiration of breast abscesses without ultrasound guidance was an effective treatment modality.

Method: In our prospective study, 30 patients with 33 breast abscesses were treated by needle aspiration of pus, oral antibiotics, and repeat aspiration, if necessary. All were outpatients, and ultrasonography was not used. Twenty-five of the 30 patients were lactating.

Results: Eighteen patients required only a single aspiration, 9 patients required multiple aspirations, and 6 patients required incision and drainage (overall cure rate, 82%). Those patients in whom needle aspiration was successful had a significantly smaller volume of pus on initial aspiration (4.0 mL versus 21.5 mL, P = 0.002) and were more likely to have presented earlier than those not cured by aspiration (5.0 days versus 8.5 days, P = 0.006).

Conclusion: Needle aspiration without ultrasound guidance is an effective treatment for breast abscesses.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Breast Diseases / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Needles
  • Prospective Studies
  • Suction* / instrumentation