Tuberculosis of the breast

Eur J Surg. 1995 Jul;161(7):471-3.


Objective: To present our 20 years experience of tuberculosis of the breast.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Teaching hospital, Turkey.

Subjects: 9 women with tuberculous mastitis.

Main outcome measure: Cure.

Results: All cases underwent frozen section and excision. One required a simple mastectomy because of the extent of destruction; the remainder underwent lumpectomy. All patients were given rifampicin, ethambutol, and isoniazid, and the three who had tuberculosis of other organs were also treated with streptomycin. Mean follow up was 87 months (range 6-178) and two patients were lost to follow up, at three and six years, respectively. Histological examination showed the presence of tubercle and central caseation in 8 cases and granulomatous infiltration in one.

Conclusion: Tuberculous mastitis is rare, and should be suspected in any woman with persistent breast abscesses and sinuses, particularly if she lives in an area from which tuberculosis has not been eradicated. Conservative surgery and antituberculous drugs are the treatment of choice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Ethambutol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Mastitis / diagnosis*
  • Mastitis / microbiology
  • Mastitis / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Streptomycin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / therapy


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Ethambutol
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin
  • Streptomycin