Is There A Surgery For Mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammatory disease of breast tissues and milk ducts. It usually affects women during their lactation period. However, it can affect non-lactating women and even men also. In this condition, the infection causes the blocking of the milk ducts. Milk is not affected by this infection, mothers should continue breastfeeding. Its symptoms involve pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the breast. It is treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, and painkillers. Surgery is performed in cases where the condition does not improve with medicines and other conservative measures.

Is There A Surgery For Mastitis?

If the symptoms of the mastitis do not improve by antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medicines or painkillers, then your doctor will recommend surgery. Minor surgery is done in breastfeeding mothers. In this surgery, an incision is made on the skin of the breast up to the affected milk duct and the contents of the blocked duct which is usually an abscess (localized collection of pus) are drained out. This abscess is formed due to a bacterial infection.

Is There A Surgery For Mastitis?

In non-lactating mothers, where there is no requirement of lactation in future, the surgeon will opt for the complete removal of all milk ducts to treat mastitis. If the symptoms of mastitis do not improve despite treatment, surgical removal of milk ducts is recommended. The surgery is conducted under a general anesthetic. An incision is made on the skin of the breast and all the milk ducts are removed from the breast. The duration of the operation is about 30 minutes. The patient will not be able to breastfeed through the operated breast anymore. Some sensation in the nipple of the operated nipple is also lost.

Your surgeon may run a course of antibiotics for 10-14 days to treat the infection. Most patients feel relief within the first two-three days of starting the antibiotics. But it is recommended to complete the course of the antibiotics to avoid résistance against the particular antibiotic.

Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are given to control the inflammatory changes and to provide relief from pain and swelling.

Mastitis is a condition marked by abnormal swelling and inflammation of the breast tissue. This happens when the flow of milk through nipple is interrupted and the milk flows back into the breast tissue. This leads to the swelling and inflammation of the breast tissue.

The milk duct when get plugged or blocked, it causes the back flow of the milk. If the milk continues to flow backward for some more time, the milk becomes thicker and pasty like toothpaste. Then, it becomes more troublesome to flow again. This may lead to the formation of a lump in the breast. Sometimes, it may result in a growth of bacteria in the breast duct which causes infection and then inflammation of the breast. Thus, it progresses to mastitis.

Mastitis Symptoms

Symptoms develop suddenly and may affect normal activities. These symptoms are-

  • Pain and tenderness near the nipples
  • Burning sensation
  • Warmness in the breast
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck region or in armpits
  • The breast swell more than then normal
  • Flu-like symptoms such as malaise, fever(higher than 101) and lethargy
  • Nipple discharge that may contain pus

Mastitis Causes

The causes of mastitis are

  • Plugging of milk that may cause back flow of the milk and may lead to infection.
  • Entry of microbes through Cracked nipples


Mastitis is the inflammatory disease of one or both the breast. In some cases, surgery may be required. In lactating mother, a surgical incision of the milk duct is done to drain out the abscess formed due to the infection. In non-lactating mothers, complete removal of troublesome milk duct is done and the patient will not be able to feed the babies through the operated breast anymore.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 8, 2021

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