What is Breast Cellulitis

breast cellulitis

Breast cellulitis is a bacterial infection that affects the skin of the breast area. The condition can arise due to broken skin.

However, the more common cause is complications. Either from cancer treatment or surgery. Symptoms can include redness, swelling, and tenderness of the breasts. The condition can quickly become very severe.


Common Causes

Like all forms of cellulitis, a cut in the skin can be a cause of the condition. A cut allows bacteria to enter the layer of skin. However, breast cellulitis usually doesn’t manifest in this manner.

The most common causes are cancer treatments and surgery complications. In the case of cancer treatments; they typically cause weakened immune systems which also increases the likelihood of this infection.

Additionally, the condition can occur as a result of complications in breast augmentation and reduction surgeries. The prevention of these causes requires good hygiene before surgery. Furthermore, antibiotics a precaution before surgery if the individual is highly prone to infections.


Signs & Symptoms of Breast Cellulitis

The affected area will generally be red and tender to touch. Additionally, the infection may cause pain upon touch. Also, there may also be a prominent wound in the breast area.

breast infection

Another common symptom is a rash that may get progressively worse. Red streaks are a common sign of the infection progressing.

Additionally, there are many risk factors with letting the condition go without treatment. A blood infection can occur which can even be potentially fatal. The condition can also spread to lymph nodes.



It is essential to seek immediate medical help upon presentation of any of these symptoms. Any sudden changes in your breast require inspection.

The condition can rapidly deteriorate. Additionally, it can cause serious complications.

breast cellulitis picture

There are other conditions which have similar signs. Therefore, a clinician will need to confirm the presence of a bacterial infection. A physical exam can usually diagnose this.

Additionally, a blood test can establish the presence of breast cellulitis. Any bite or cut on the breast requires immediate treatment. Even the smallest cuts, can make the skin vulnerable to infection.


Treatment of Breast Cellulitis

The typical treatment for breast cellulitis is a course of antibiotics. A typical course is around 7-10 days. This amount of time allows the condition to clear up completely.

Following the specific instructions given by your doctor is crucial. Symptoms generally start to improve within a few days of starting the course. A clear up of symptoms doesn’t mean you can stop taking the medication. A doctor will usually recall you after a week weeks to check that the infection is entirely gone.

Pain relievers can help manage the discomfort of the condition. They are generally available over the counter. However, it is essential to consult a doctor before taking any pain medication.

Antibiotics usually work well for most infections. However, some people may not respond well to them. In these rare cases, the medication is given intravenously in a hospital.

Image credit: DepositPhotos.com

Last article update: 02/21/2019