Breast necrosis (dead tissue)

Chest | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Breast necrosis (dead tissue) (Disease)


Breast necrosis is a benign condition that can occur in your breast. It consists of fatty tissue that has been bruised, injured, or has died.

Common symptoms of breast fat necrosis include breast lump, breast pain, breast tenderness, and nipple discharge. Skin may be dimpled over the lump. Sometimes, the nipple may pull inward a little bit. If you have an oil cyst, it may feel like a smooth and squishy lump. Fat necrosis often looks and feels like many other breast lumps.

Causes and Risk factors

Fat necrosis results in the formation of a lump in the breast, but it does not cause cancer. Fat necrosis can result after any type of breast surgery, from biopsy to reconstruction. Fatty tissue in your breast may break down or die after any type of traumatic breast injury.

A breast biopsy, whether it is a needle biopsy or a surgical biopsy can also cause breast fat necrosis. Fat necrosis may also form around substances that have been injected into your breast, such as silicone or paraffin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Clinical breast exam is necessary, along with mammogram, breast ultrasound, breast MRI or biopsy.

Treatment for breast fat necrosis includes warm wet compresses to the affected site and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.