Introduction

The breast and the thyroid may both be afflicted by a variety of benign and malignant swellings which need surgery. Both may have abscesses which need draining, the breast often, and the thyroid only rarely. We describe a simple and a modified radical mastectomy, but we do not tell you how to remove the thyroid, because this requires a knowledge of anatomy and an expertise that you are unlikely to have.

You will see two kinds of inflammatory lesion in the breast: (1) Acute abscesses, which almost always occur during lactation, but may occasionally occur during pregnancy, and rarely at other times. They are here, rather than with the other abscesses earlier in the book, so that they can be discussed with other ''lumps in the breast'. And, (2) a varied group of subacute or chronic infections, which you will have to distinguish from tumours and tuberculosis of the breast (21.3).

THE BREAST