Granulomatous mastitis: presentation, treatment and outcome in 43 patients

Surgeon. 2010 Aug;8(4):197-201. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2010.02.002. Epub 2010 Mar 6.


Background: Granulomatous mastitis is a rare benign breast condition commonly affecting women of child-bearing age. It is characterised histopathologically by the presence granuloma and microabscess formation. It is frequently mistaken for inflammatory breast carcinoma both clinically and mammographically. The aim of this study was to retrospectively review the clinical presentation, radiological investigation, histopathological features, treatment and outcome of granulomatous mastitis of women presenting to Ripas Hospital between October 1997 and June 2009.

Results: Forty-three patients with a mean age of 34 years presented with a diagnosis of granulomatous mastitis. All patients presented with a palpable breast lump; 24 (56%) patients also experienced pain in the lump and 3 (7%) patients also had associated nipple discharge on presentation. The role of radiological imaging is found to be limited in differentiating GM from other inflammatory and malignant conditions of the breast. Forty (93%) patients underwent a surgical procedure as the main treatment; in the form of excision or incision and drainage of the breast lesions. Mean follow-up was 15 (range 1-80) months with recurrence in 10 (23%) patients.

Conclusion: Granulomatous mastitis presents clinically with a palpable breast lump. The diagnosis is often only made histopathologically after surgical excision or core biopsy. Complete surgical excision or incision and drainage of the lesion are the main treatment modalities. Treatment with corticosteroids and immunosuppression remains controversial and there is tendency for this condition to recur after treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Granuloma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Mastitis / pathology
  • Mastitis / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome