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Draining a Breast Abscess - Topic Overview

Mastitis that develops into an infected pocket of fluid, or breast abscess, usually needs to be drained.

  • A small abscess can be drained with a needle, sometimes using ultrasound to guide the needle. First, a local anesthetic medicine is injected to numb the skin over the infected breast tissue. This procedure can be done in a doctor's office.
  • A large abscess must be cut open (lanced) to let the pus drain out. Usually a local anesthetic medicine is injected to numb the breast tissue first. General anesthesia is usually not needed for this treatment unless the abscess is deep. After the infected area has been drained, it may be left open and packed with sterile gauze or closed with a small tube left in so the pus can drain out. This procedure may be done in a doctor's office or an outpatient surgery setting.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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