Zuska’s Disease




Zuska's disease is rare but painful breast disorder that is not related to cancer but it is still a serious condition. Also known as "lactiferous fistula", or Zuska-Atkins disease, it is a rare and recurrent disorder characterized by draining abscesses around the nipple. Zuska's breast disease can also lead to nipple retraction.

Zuska's disease is not associated with pregnancy and lactation, it can occur in one or both breasts and can cause recurrent episodes of erysipela (streptococcus bacterial infection) and the presence of painful nodules under the areola.


  • Cutaneous signs and symptoms in subareolar abscesses of the breast or lactiferous fistula are common and frequent
  • An epithelial squamous metaplasia
  • Plugging and obstruction of the ducts
  • Subsequent inflammatory reaction and infection produce local and general symptoms
  • Nipple retraction
  • Recurrent episodes of erysipela and presence of painful nodules under the areola in non-lactating woman.
  • Presence of a milky draining sinus in the areola


It is a form of epithelial squamous breast metaplasia which results in the blocking and plugging of the breast ducts. 


The diagnostic challenge is to differentiate the benign condition from a breast cancer.


Treatment with antibiotics in the acute and chronic phase is mandatory, surgical removal of abscess and duct is sometimes resolutive.


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