Dr. Harness explains What a breast abscess is and how to treat it. Jay K. Harness is the former President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the Medical Director of the St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center in the city of Orange in Orange County California.
Breast abscess: We should think of two categories of breast abscesses. The most common probably is when a woman is breastfeeding and you have got 12 to 15 ducts in the breast, and one or so of those ducts becomes blocked by probably inspisated or concentrated milk, and the normal bacteria in the baby’s mouth around the skin of the breast gets locked inside the breast, sets up a what is called unicameral, one chamber, or one location abscess. More and more now we not only treat that with antibiotics, of course, but we can now use ultrasound to guide and do the drainage that way instead of having to cut into the breast. So that is one category of breast abscesses. The second far more difficult category is what is called chronic subareolar breast abscesses seen in non-breastfeeding women - do not know the cause of it. The breast is actually a very large sweat gland, and this kind of infection is very, very similar to the kind of chronic infections you can get in sweat glands in the armpit area, or the groin, or whatever, and it is very difficult to treat. It is not only treated with antibiotics but treated with surgery, opening and draining the whole area out, but frankly sometimes it takes more than one operation to get it adequately treated.
About Dr. Harness. M.D.:
Dr. Jay Harness is the Director at St. Joseph Hospital Comprehensive Breast Center. Practicing medicine for 35 years, Dr. Harness specializes in general surgery and medical oncology. Graduating medical school from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he conducting his internship and residency at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in breast and endocrine surgery, Dr. Harness is the immediate past-President of The American Society of Breast Surgeons and is President-elect of Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness can assist patients in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
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