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Breast Abscess Drainage
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A breast abscess is a pocket of pus inside your breast. You can develop a breast abscess if germs enter your breast through your nipple. This may happen if you are breastfeeding and you have cracked nipples or you have had a breast infection. You may also get an abscess from breast problems that are not related to breastfeeding. Your breast abscess will be opened and drained so the pus can be removed.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Follow your primary healthcare provider's instructions for cleaning your incision area and changing your bandages.
- You may bathe as usual. If there is a drain in the incision, wait until the drain is removed before you wash the incision. After the drain has been removed, you may wash the incision gently with water and mild, unscented soap. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.
- Heat: Apply heat on the abscess area to decrease pain or swelling. Heat brings blood to the injured area and may help it drain and heal faster. Use a heating pad (turned on low) or a warm, moist compress. Ask how often you should apply heat to the area and for how long.
- Activity: Do not do any heavy exercise or activity for 3 weeks.
Wait about 2 weeks before you nurse your baby from the breast that had the abscess. Use a breast pump to keep up your milk supply in that breast. Pump as often as you would nurse your baby. Do not feed this pumped milk to your baby. Throw the milk away. You may keep nursing from the other breast during the first 2 weeks.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.