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Dr. Tan Chuan Chien

Management of Breast Inflammatory Conditions

Breast inflammatory conditions, also known as mastitis, is the inflammation of breast tissues due to breastfeeding complications or bacterial infection. Various treatment options are available to manage and relieve symptoms.

Symptoms

Many people with breast inflammatory conditions (mastitis) will initially notice a red mark on one breast, as it rarely affects both breasts. The affected breast may also be swollen, warm or tender to touch.

Common signs of mastitis may include:

  • Breast swelling
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lump in the breast
  • Redness and a burning sensation in the breast area
  • Pain
  • Fever

Types of Breast Inflammatory Conditions

There are generally two types of breast inflammatory conditions: lactational mastitis and Non lactational mastitis.

Lactational Mastitis

Lactational mastitis is a common breast inflammatory condition that typically occurs during the first few months of breastfeeding. It is more common for first-time mums as they learn how to breastfeed correctly. For example, failure to completely empty the breasts during feedings may result in blocked milk ducts, leading to inflammation.

Infection occurs when bacteria from your baby’s mouth or skin surface enters the milk ducts through cracks in the nipple, resulting in the infection of the breasts. Stagnant milk that is not completely emptied during breastfeeding may further aggravate the infection by providing a breeding ground for the bacteria.

DR. TAN CHUAN CHIEN

Key Guiding Philosophies

Competency

Dr. Tan is a Fellowship-trained Breast & Endocrine Surgeon who is registered on the Specialist Register (General Surgery) in both Singapore and Australia. He completed his formal Breast Surgery training through the BreastSurgANZ Fellowship Programme. He was previously Head, Division of Breast & Endocrine Surgery, NTFGH where he was the pioneer breast surgeon there developing a comprehensive, evidence-based Breast Surgery service.

Care for the wider community

Dr. Tan is passionate about engaging the wider community with regards to breast cancer outcomes. He volunteers with the Singapore Cancer Society and served as the Chairman of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Committee from 2018 to 2021. He continues to currently serve as a member of this committee. During his time in the public hospital, Dr. Tan was involved in research on breast cancer screening and care, where he succeeded in obtaining competitive grants and managing a research team, with the overall aim to improve breast cancer outcomes in Singapore.

Patient-centered care

Dr. Tan believes in the importance of the patient experience and the partnership between doctor and patients in healing sickness. He also believes no two individuals are the same. He believes in the philosophy of personalised tailor-made care plans for each of his patients to meet their individual expectations and needs.

Comprehensive Breast, Thyroid and General Surgery service

Dr. Tan aims to provide comprehensive, evidence-based care to all his patients, in a modern equipped clinic along the entire spectrum of the patient journey from diagnosis, through treatment/surgery and aftercare.

Treatments for Breast Inflammatory Conditions

If left untreated, Mastitis (or Mastitis from blocked ducts) can cause a collection of pus (abscess) to develop in your breast, which would require surgical drainage of abscess to treat the condition. To avoid such complications, speak to a breast specialist as soon as you develop signs or symptoms of mastitis.
When treatment is sought early, non-surgical methods or home remedies can be used to manage mastitis.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Antibiotics. If the inflammation is caused by bacterial infection, antibiotic treatment may be used to treat the infection.
  • Pain relievers. Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with swelling and pain.

Home Remedies

The following self-care tips can also resolve a blocked duct and manage breast inflammatory symptoms:

  • Adequate rest
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Breastfeed and empty your breast milk frequently, especially on the affected side. If this is not possible, use a hand expression or a pump.
  • Alternate feeding positions to discover the most effective posture to drain your breastmilk
  • Apply cold compress after feeding to relieve pain
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes or proper nursing outfits for ease of breastfeeding

As a supporter of personalised surgical care, I understand that no two patients are the same. I believe in tailoring management for each patient to meet each individual’s needs and expectations. A patient’s journey can be difficult and frustrating at times, so I strive to make this experience as pleasant and seamless as possible.

Dr. Tan Chuan Chien
For Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners

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Dr. Tan Chuan Chien

Consultant General Surgeon Breast & Thyroid Surgery
  • Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)- The University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS)
  • Full Registration, Singapore Medical Council (SMC) and Specialist Accreditation Board, Singapore (General Surgery)
  • Full General & Specialist Registration (General Surgery), Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Completed Breast Surgery training through the BreastSurgANZ Fellowship programme
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS)

Dr. Tan Chuan Chien is a Fellowship-trained Breast and Endocrine Surgeon practicing as a Consultant General Surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore. He also sees patients at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre and Parkway East Medical Centre. Dr. Tan is a registered Specialist Surgeon (General Surgery) in both Singapore and Australia.

Diagnosis

Your breast specialist will perform several tests to diagnose breast inflammatory conditions, including the following:

  • A physical examination to detect symptoms of mastitis
  • Pus discharge may also be obtained to test for signs of a bacterial infection

If you are not breastfeeding, you may require breast imaging scans to look for breast cancer or other breast conditions such as inflammatory breast cancer – a rare but aggressive form of cancer.

Symptoms of mastitis and inflammatory breast cancer may be similar, hence, it is important to visit a breast specialist for an accurate diagnosis and to provide the appropriate treatment that you need.

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    MAIN CLINIC

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery

    • Gleneagles Medical Centre
      6 Napier Road #08-15/16
      Singapore 258499
    • Mon & Thu: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
      Tue & Fri: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
      Wed & Sat: 9:00AM - 12:30PM
    • T:
    • F: +65 6471 1088
    • M:
    OTHER PRACTICE LOCATIONS

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Mount Elizabeth Novena)

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Parkway East)

    Thomson Surgical Centre

    MAIN CLINIC

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery

    • Gleneagles Medical Centre
      6 Napier Road #08-15/16
      Singapore 258499
    • Mon & Thu: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
      Tue & Fri: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
      Wed & Sat: 9:00AM - 12:30PM
    • T:
    • F: +65 6471 1088
    • M:
    OTHER PRACTICE LOCATIONS

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Mount Elizabeth Novena)

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Parkway East)

    Thomson Surgical Centre