Characterization of Pediatric Breast Abscesses and Optimal Treatment: A Retrospective Analysis.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.07.014


BACKGROUND: Literature on pediatric breast abscesses is sparse; therefore, treatment is based on adult literature which has shifted from incision and drainage (I&D) to needle aspiration. However, children may require different treatment due to different risk factors and the presence of a developing breast bud. We sought to characterize pediatric breast abscesses and compare outcomes.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective review of patients presenting with a primary breast abscess from January 2008 to December 2018 was conducted. Primary outcome was persistent disease. Antibiotic utilization, treatment required, and risk factors for abscess and recurrence were also assessed. A follow-up survey regarding scarring, deformity, and further procedures was administered. Fisher's exact and Kruskal-Wallis tests for group comparisons and multivariable regression to determine associations with recurrence were performed.

RESULTS: Ninety-six patients were included. The median age was 12.8 y [IQR 4.9, 14.3], 81% were women, and 51% were African-American. Most commonly, patients were treated with antibiotics alone (47%), followed by I&D (27%), and aspiration (26%). Twelve patients (13%) had persistent disease. There was no difference in demographic or clinical characteristics between those with persistent disease and those who responded to initial treatment. The success rates of primary treatment were 80% with antibiotics alone, 90% with aspiration, and 96% with I&D (P = 0.35). The median time to follow-up survey was 6.5 y [IQR 4.4, 8.5]. Four patients who underwent I&D initially reported significant scarring.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment modality was not associated with persistent disease. A trial of antibiotics alone may be considered to minimize the risk of breast bud damage and adverse cosmetic outcomes with invasive intervention.

Journal Title

The Journal of surgical research



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Breast abscess; Pediatric breast mass

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