Why Is My Breast Red?

Why Is My Breast Red?

December 14, 2021
Everett Bonner, MD
Everett Bonner, MD

Breast Surgery



A lot of patients will show up in a breast surgeon’s office, or even a primary care’s office. And their breast is red. It’s inflamed. It has Peau d’orange, which means skin of the orange. It’s basically dimpling of the breasts. And it looks very, very edematous.


The fortunate thing is, a lot of times this is just cellulitis or it’s just inflammation of the breast, what we call mastitis. Those patients are usually treated with antibiotics, a course of about two weeks, and then a follow-up. If it resolves, we can have a sigh of relief, that’s usually it was just a mastitis and it went away. We see that with women who are breastfeeding, or we see this a lot in athletic women with a lot of sweating and not changing off their clothes or washing the clothes properly. I see this a lot in some of our younger athletes. And those patients will resolve after about a two week course of antibiotics.


But those patients who do not resolve, we’re obligated to do a biopsy of the skin. And unfortunately, a lot of those patients will come back with a disease process called inflammatory breast carcinoma.


Key Takeaways

1. A lot of times, redness of the breast is just cellulitis or inflammation called mastitis.

2. Those patients are usually treated with antibiotics.

3. We see that with women who are breastfeeding or in athletic women.

4. If it doesn’t resolve after two weeks of antibiotics, a skin biopsy will test for inflammatory breast carcinoma.