Cases and literature review of breast sparganosis

World J Surg. 2011 Mar;35(3):573-9. doi: 10.1007/s00268-010-0942-1.


Background: Sparganosis is a seldom encountered disease of the breast. Based on the results of previous studies and our own experience, we investigated the clinical characteristics of breast sparganosis.

Method: Four patients who were treated for breast sparganosis at Samsung Medical Center were included in the study, and additional data were retrieved from the Index Medicus and the Science Citation Index (SCI). The Korean Medical (KM) database and the Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) database were searched to include information from Korean journals that is not included in international citation indexes.

Results: Among 35 patients, 8 (32%) had a record of oral ingestion of an intermediary host. All patients presented with a breast mass, with migration in 6 cases (25%) and pain or an itching sensation in 6 cases (25%). Elongated tubular structures were found in the subcutaneous layer in 22 cases (88%) during radiologic exam. All patients underwent complete surgical excision. Twenty-seven of 29 (93.1%) patients' spargana was separated and confirmed grossly. Histologically, granulomatous inflammation was the most common feature. A single worm was extracted in 16 cases (76.2%) and 5 cases (23.8%) had multiple worms.

Conclusion: Sparganosis tends to present as a suspicious mass in the subcutaneous layer of the breast. Complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice, with careful postoperative surveillance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Breast Diseases / parasitology*
  • Breast Diseases / pathology
  • Breast Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Incidence
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sparganosis / diagnosis*
  • Sparganosis / surgery
  • Sparganum / isolation & purification*
  • Treatment Outcome