Galactoceles are benign breast lesions with accumulation of milky fluid in cystic spaces.


Galactoceles may be associated with:

(1) pregnancy and/or lactation

(2) infancy (male or female)

(3) prolactinoma with galactorrhea

(4) mass compressing a breast duct (fibroadenoma. implant, other)


A galactocele may present with:

(1) one or more circumscribed mass

(2) unilateral or bilateral


Imaging studies may show two separate zones with a hypodense zone (due to milk lipids) overlying an isodense zone (consisting mostly of aqueous or serous fluid).


The gross appearance (a milky appearance) of cyst contents but may be obscured by hemorrhage.


Cytology may show proteinaceous material, inflammation, or necrotic debris. Histology may show cystic areas lined by cells with cytoplasmic vacuoles. If a cyst ruptures then there may be fat necrosis and/or chronic inflammation with fibrosis.


The lesions are benign and often are adequately treated by drainage. The lesion may need to be excised if it is large, complicated or associated with an adjacent mass. A complication of surgery is a milk fistula.


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