Mastitis refers to inflammation of the breast parenchyma, of which there are a number of subtypes:

Clinical presentation

Clinically, the breast will be indurated, red and painful. Nipple retraction may also be evident. Nodal enlargement is common. The patient may often have systemic symptoms such as fever or leukocytosis.

Radiographic features


On mammography, bacterial (puerperal or non-puerperal) mastitis will usually feature ill-defined regions of increased density and skin thickening. 

Breast ultrasound

On ultrasound,  ill-defined area of altered echotexture with hyperechogenicity representing infiltrated and inflamed fat lobules, hypoechoic areas in the glandular parenchyma, and associated mild skin thickening are seen. Inflammatory axillary lymph nodes may also be encountered. Occasionally abscess formation may be visible.


Differential diagnosis

It is important to consider inflammatory breast cancer as a potential differential.

Related articles

Breast imaging and pathology

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