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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Ultrasound Guided Needle Aspiration versus Surgical Drainage in the management of breast abscesses: a Ugandan experience

Alphonce B Chandika1*, Anthony M Gakwaya2, Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde3 and Phillipo L Chalya1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Weil Bugando University College of Health Sciences, Mwanza, Tanzania

2 Department of Surgery, Makerere University Kampala, Kampala, Uganda

3 Department of Radiology, Makerere University Kampala, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:12  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-12

Published: 6 January 2012



Despite breast abscess becoming less common in developed countries, it has remained one of the leading causes of morbidity in women in developing countries. A randomized controlled trial was conducted at Mulago hospital complex in Kampala Uganda to establish whether ultrasound guided needle aspiration is a feasible alternative treatment option for breast abscesses.


A total of 65 females with breast abscess were analyzed, of these 33 patients were randomized into the ultrasound guided needle aspiration and 32 patients in the Incision and drainage arm. The mean age was 23.12, most of them were lactating (66.2%), primipararous (44.6%) with peripheral abscesses (73.8%) located in the upper lateral quadrant (56%).The mean breast size was 3.49 cm. The two groups were comparably in demographic characteristic and breast abscess size. Survival analysis showed no difference in breast abscess healing rate between the two groups (Log rank 0.24 df 1 and P = 0.63). Incision and drainage was found to be more costly than ultrasound guided aspiration (cost effective ratio of 2.85).


Ultrasound guided needle aspiration is therefore a feasible and cost effective treatment option for both lactating and non lactating breast abscesses with a diameter up to 5 cm by ultrasound in an immune competent patient

Breast abscess; Ultrasound guided needle aspiration; Surgical drainage; Uganda