The clinical records of 50 patients with abscess in nonlactating breasts were reviewed. There was a significant difference in response to operative treatment, depending on the location of the abscess (χ2 = 5.9, P <.025).
Twelve patients treated for peripheral abscesses responded satisfactorily with a single recurrence (8%). Etiologic factors were implicated in (nine) 75%. One patient had coexisting invasive ductal carcinoma.
Thirty-eight patients were treated operatively for subareolar abscesses, and recurrence was documented in 15 (39.5%). Bacterial invasion was not considered an important primary etiologic factor. Nipple inversion was noted in two (9%) of patients with their first abscess and in three (19%) with recurrent abscess. The pathogenesis of subareolar inflammation is discussed. Operative treatment requires consideration of total excision of subareolar ducts.