Original Article

A Rare Clinical Entity in the Differential Diagnosis of Mastalgia: Thoracic Zona


  • Zeynep Özkan
  • Burhan Hakan Kanat
  • Ayşe Nur Gönen
  • Zekiye Kanat
  • Mehmet Buğra Bozan

Received Date: 19.03.2015 Accepted Date: 13.08.2015 Eur J Breast Health 2015;11(4):168-171


Mastalgia is the most common complaint of patients who are admitted for breast examination. Breast pain may originate breast tissue pathologies or non-breast pathologies adjacent organs. One of the causes of mastalgia is the varicella-zoster infection of the thoracic nerve ganglions. The zona zoster infection is painful, and vesicular lesions in the infected dermatomal regions can be observed because of the reactivation of the latent varicella (Herpes)-zoster virus (VZV) in the dorsal radix of medulla spinalis. There are no reviews of the zona cases of mastalgia patients in the literature. We aimed to investigate and represent the characteristics of these patients.

Materials and Methods:

Patients complaining of mastalgia and who were diagnosed with zona zoster infection after physical examination and clinical evaluation in the outpatients depart-ment of General Surgery were investigated retrospectively between January 2010 and January 2015.


The study included 12 patients. All of them were female, and the mean age of patients was 51.66 (36–72) years. Eight of the zona cases were seen in the right breast (66.6%), and four of them were seen in the left breast (33.4%). Complaints of patients were pain (100%), eruption (70%), and burning sensation (60%). Underlying pathology was seen in one of the cases. Physical examination at admission revealed that four of the patients did not have any physical abnormality (33.3%). On the contrary of vesicular lesions, typical physical findings of zona, were seen in eight patients (66.7%).


Detailed history analysis and physical examination of the breast should be per-formed, particularly in older patients with unilateral severe mastalgia, and zona should be considered.

Keywords: Mastalgia, thoracic zona, pain