Case of Postpartum Unilateral Axillary Mass

Axillary mass
Round, firm, well-circumscribed axillary mass (Panel A) that released a white discharge when pressed (Panel B)

Unilateral axillary mass with pain after normal vaginal delivery

This article describes the case of a 26-year-old woman who presented with pain in the right armpit, two days after normal vaginal delivery. Physical examination was consistent with a round, firm, and well-circumscribed axillary mass. The mass also released white discharge on applying pressure. Based on the findings, doctors diagnosed the patient with polymastia. Polymastia is a condition in which accessory breast tissue develops along the former embryonic mammary ridge.

Milk draining from the milk tissue during the postpartum period can cause it to enlarge

Milk can drain from the milk tissue in the postpartum period causing it to enlarge. In some cases this can cause pain and discomfort. Axillary breast tissue is infrequently reported in literature with 2% to 6% of bilateral cases reported. The supernumerary breast tissue can be found along the milk line extending from the axilla to the pubic region. This is normal breast tissue that reacts to hormonal changes. The ectopic tissue usually becomes symptomatic during pregnancy and during the postpartum period when women begin breastfeeding. Swelling and pain are the most common complaints.

Diagnosis and treatment

Based on the clinical findings, doctors diagnosed the patient with polymastia or a unilateral axillary mass. Generally, the management is conservative with breast feeding cessation to allow the symptoms to regress. There have been cases where women have reported pain relief with pumping the axillary breasts. Differentials include suppurative hidradenitis, lymphadenopathy, and lipoma.

Although the condition is benign, it is likely to recur and even worsen with subsequent pregnancies. The breast tissue should be monitored for pathologic changes and malignanciy. In this case the patient was assured that the condition is benign and was advised for routine screening for breast cancer, including accessory tissue examination.


Axillary Mass after Delivery

Previous articleRespiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Cases Rise in the US
Next articleCase of Pneumococcal Empyema in 4-Year-Old
Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here