A subareolar abscess is an abscess or growth on the areolar gland, which is located in the breast under or below the areola (colored area around nipple).
Abscess - areolar gland; Areolar gland abscess
The cause of a subareolar abscess is a blockage of the small glands or ducts under the areola, with development of an infection under the skin.
This is an uncommon problem that affects younger or middle-aged women who are not breastfeeding. There are no known risk factors.
The health care provider will perform a breast exam. An ultrasound examination of the breast may be recommended in some cases. A blood count and a culture of the abscess, if drained, may be ordered.
Subareolar abscesses are treated with antibiotics and by opening and draining the infected tissue. This can be done in a doctor's office with local numbing medicine (anesthesic). However, if the abscess returns, the affected glands should be surgically removed.
Prognosis is good after surgical treatment.
Subareolar abscesses may return until the affected glands are surgically removed.
Contact your health care provider if you develop a painful lump under the nipple or areola.
Iglehart JD. Smith BL. Diseases of the breast. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed.Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 34.
Lester SC. The breast. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 23.