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For further information, see CMDT Part 17-04: Fat Necrosis

Key Features

  • Rare

  • In the past, most fat necrosis was seen after trauma, but now fat necrosis is commonly seen after fat injections to augment breast size or fill defects after breast surgery

  • Also occurs after breast surgery, segmental resection, radiation therapy, or postmastectomy flap reconstruction

Clinical Findings

  • Breast mass

  • Often associated with skin or nipple retraction

  • Usually indistinguishable from cancer even with imaging studies


  • Core needle biopsy usually adequate for diagnosis

  • Differential diagnosis

    • Breast cancer

    • Fibroadenoma

    • Breast abscess

    • Fibrocystic condition of breast

    • Paget disease of the breast


  • If untreated, mass gradually disappears

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