Periductal mastitis is a specific clinicopathologic entity, and is referred to by several names: recurrent subareolar abscess, squamous metaplasia of the lactiferous duct, and Zuska's disease. Clinically, the differentiation of periductal mastitis from other benign lesions and carcinomas around the nipple frequently proves a difficult proposition. We reviewed the fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of 14 cases of periductal mastitis, which had been diagnosed either radiologically, histologically, or clinically. The patient group included 13 female patients, and one male. The majority of the patients in this group had presented with subareolar masses. All cases evidenced characteristic anucleated squamous cell clusters within a mixed inflammatory background. A diagnosis of periductal mastitis can be rendered fairly readily on excisional biopsy. However, FNAC is considered to be superior to excisional biopsy as an initial diagnostic procedure for any palpable mass in subareolar lesions of the breast. FNAC can also be a useful diagnostic technique in cases of periductal mastitis, even in the early phases of the disease. A definitive diagnosis of subareolar abscess via FNAC will enable the clinician to select the most appropriate medical or surgical treatment.