Breast cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that occurs on the breast. Skin affected by cellulitis will commonly be red, swollen, and warm and painful to the touch. In breast cellulitis, it is also common for skin symptoms to extend to the shoulder, back, and upper arm. In rare cases, symptoms of the infection may also include high fever, chills, and body aches. Treatment of cellulitis begins with antibiotics and may also include treatment to prevent recurrence of the infection.
Breast Cellulitis: An Introduction
Cellulitis is a skin infection characterized by swelling, redness, warmth, and pain. Breast cellulitis, which is one type of cellulitis, is an infection that occurs on the breast.
Causes of Breast Cellulitis
Breast cellulitis is an infection that is caused by bacteria. The most common bacterium that causes breast cellulitis is streptococcus.
Breast Cellulitis: Risk Factors
Cellulitis research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop breast cellulitis. Breast cellulitis risk factors include:
- Breast cancer
- Previous history of lumpectomy with lymph node dissection for stage 1 breast cancer
- Previous history of lumpectomy with lymph node dissection for stage 2 breast cancer.
These risk factors are not causes of breast cellulitis; however, they do increase a person's chance of developing breast cellulitis.
Symptoms of Breast Cellulitis
Symptoms of breast cellulitis occur at the location of the infected skin (local cellulitis symptoms) or on other parts of the body (systemic cellulitis symptoms).
Skin affected by cellulitis will commonly be:
- Warm to the touch
- Painful to the touch.
In breast cellulitis, it is also common for skin symptoms to extend to the shoulder, back, and upper arm. The patient may also have a low-grade fever.
In rare cases, other symptoms of breast cellulitis may include:
- High fever
- Body aches
- Decreased appetite
- Breast abscess (pus-filled cavity).
These symptoms of breast cellulitis can represent a more serious case of the infection.