Breast cellulitis

Breast cellulitis is an acute pyogenic inflammatory change involving the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. This can be secondary to any wound, surgery or radiation for breast carcinoma.

  • inflammatory changes such as oedema, swelling and redness of the involved breast 
  • no definite palpable mass
  • tenderness
  • fever
  • chills
  • leukocytosis

This inflammation is secondary to an opportunistic infection due to stasis of lymph and secondary bacterial growth therein.

Breast cellulitis may develop weeks to months after the radiation therapy and hence is termed as delayed breast cellulitis. Breast cellulitis develops about 3 to 5 months post radiotherapy.

Ultrasound
  • hyperechoic, inflamed breast fat
  • increased vascularity
  • no definite fluid collection (unlike breast abscess)

Treatment is usually with antibiotics and symptomatic treatment. If it persists even following treatment, then a biopsy may be performed to look for cancer recurrence.

Breast imaging and pathology
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Article information

rID: 29167
System: Breast
Section: Pathology
Tags: breast, refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cellulitis affecting the breast

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