Patient Education

Health Library

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Draining a Breast Abscess

Skip to the navigation

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.

Other Places To Get Help

Organizations

La Leche League International
www.llli.org
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Women's Health
www.hrsa.gov/womenshealth/index.html

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.