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Smoking Tied to Increased Risk for Breast Abscesses

And nipple piercing linked to higher risk of subareolar breast abscesses

THURSDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of developing primary or recurring breast abscesses increases with smoking, and subareolar breast abscesses may be associated with nipple piercing, according to research published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Vinod Gollapalli, M.D., of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, and colleagues conducted a case control study of 68 patients with primary breast abscesses to investigate risk factors that might predispose women to developing primary and recurring breast abscesses.

In univariate analysis, the researchers identified smoking, obesity, diabetes, and nipple piercing as significant risk factors for developing breast abscesses (odds ratios [ORs], 8.0, 3.6, 5.7, and 10.2, respectively). Multivariate analysis confirmed smoking as a significant primary abscess risk factor (OR, 6.15), and identified nipple piercing (OR, 20.26) and smoking (OR, 11.49) as risk factors in the subtype of subareolar breast abscess. Increased risk of recurrence, which occured in 36 patients (53 percent), was significantly associated with age, smoking, and surgical treatment (ORs, 1.08, 14.73, and 11.94, respectively); risk for recurrence declined after methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection (OR, 0.02).

This study "is also the first study to suggest that nipple piercing may also be associated with subareolar abscesses. Although further prospective epidemiologic studies are needed to draw more definitive conclusions, health care professionals may use the findings to warn their patients of the potential risks of nipple piercing," the authors write.

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