“Retraction or puckering of the skin overlying the breast tissue is called breast dimpling. “
breast dimpling

breast dimpling

 

Breast dimpling is one of the very important signs of breast cancer. To be more precise , its a reliable sign of advanced breast cancer. However, that does not necessarily mean that it  always represents or is pathognomonic of the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Following are some of the less grave and more common possible causes of breast dimpling
  1. Breast abscess
  2. Mastitis
  3. Fat necrosis
  4. Trauma to the breast tissue causing inflammation and resulting in scar formation. This leads to  the retraction of the overlying skin, in other words dimpling.
  5. Intra lobular duct obstruction
Breast dimpling can be best dealt with by taking into consideration what other symptoms the patient has. For example, the history should include the following questions about associated symptoms.
  • Is there associated pain.
  • Is there a lump (or lumps) in the breast tissue.
  • Are there any nodules/ nodular growths within the breast tissue.
  • Is there any Lump or nodule or growth in the axillae or neck.
  • Is there any nipple retration and / or discharge from the nipple
  • Is there skin color changes for instance, orange / reddish inflammatory tinge in addition to the retraction,

If the answer to the above symptoms is yes then there is a high probability of malignancy, especially if all or any of these complaints are longstanding. In such cases mammography , ultrasound of both breasts and biopsy/histopathology is necessary for final diagnosis and further management. For prevention of breast cancer, the following article can be of help. How to protect yourself against the menace of breast cancer

However, if the breast dimple is recently noticed or of acute onset. It is associated with the symptoms of fever, pain, breast tenderness with red swelling then it’s most likely because of the mastitis leading to abscess formation. This is more common in breast feeding mothers. It can also occur after some sort of blunt trauma to the breast tissue.