What is mastitis and abscess?

Mastitis describes the inflammation of the breast, caused most often by an infection.  It happens most often in woman that are breastfeeding. Sometimes, the infection can become more serious and an abscess can form. An abscess is a collection of pus and can make people very unwell.

How do we manage these conditions?

If mastitis occurs when breastfeeding, woman should continue to breast feed from their infected breast. There are many ways to manage infections of the breast. Generally, we treat a simple breast infection with antibiotics. Antibiotics can be given as tablets or through injections to the vein. When the more serious abscess forms, we need to drain the abscess. This can be done with a needle or sometimes through a small cut. Some women are admitted to hospital to have their infected breast treated, whilst others can have their treatment in an outpatient clinic. 

What is the MAMMA study?

The Mastitis and Mammary Abscess Management Audit (MAMMA) is a study across the United Kingdom and Ireland, looking at how we manage breast infections. As you can see above, there are various ways to treat breast infection and we would like to find out how different doctors are treating these conditions. 

What is the aim of the MAMMA study?

Our goal is to collected information from around the UK and Ireland, to help us write new guidelines and improve patient care. By introducing new guidelines, we hope to ensure all woman with breast infections are treated the same, no matter which hospital they attend.

How will the MAMMA study work?

The MAMMA study will be completed in 3 different steps. The first step will involve a small survey of all the hospitals involved, to better understand a woman’s journey through the treatment of her breast infection. Step 1 will help guide us through step 2. In step 2, we will collect anonymized patient information about woman with breast infections. This will show us how we are really managing the condition across the UK and Ireland. Using what we learn from step 2, we will write new guidelines on how to treat mastitis and breast abscesses. This will lead on to our final step, step 3, where we test to see if our new guidelines have improved the treatment of woman with breast infections.

How can you help?

We can only complete the MAMMA study with your help. For the study to work, we will need to collect information about woman with breast infections and how the infections were treated. All information we collect will be completely anonymized, which means we remove any information that can be used to identify you (such as your name and date of birth). 

Once we have collected all this information, we can see if the study has made a difference to woman’s lives throughout the UK and Ireland. 

Thank you

From the members of the MAMMA group and all the medical professionals involved in this study, we would like to thank you for any help you can offer. It really could make a big difference to many women up and down the country.