Breast Implant Infection

Last updated on April 26, 2018

Breast implants are commonly used in breast augmentation surgery. Made from either silicone or saline, they are used to reshape breasts into a fuller, firmer, and rounder form. But with all the beauty and confidence that breast implants can bring, it is still very important to know all the possible risks and complications that may arise.

This is not to scare you from getting breast implants. As a plastic surgeon, it is important for me to walk you through every step of the procedure. I want to ensure that you are aware of all its aspects, even the potential risks, and complications. The goal of this article is to give you a gentle reminder that taking care of your body is still the number one priority when achieving your goals.

Learn more about breast augmentation if you are considering getting breast implants.

Breast Implants Infection Statistics

One Google search of this topic will probably send you away from cosmetic implants forever. The cases that you may find online could be horrendous but in reality, breast implant infections are very rare. Only less than 2% in cosmetic augmentation experience infection and more often than not, the situation can be addressed by an antibiotic.

Why Do Breast Implants Get Infected?

These silicone implants are foreign to your body which means that it is different from your own body tissues. Naturally, antibodies are delivered throughout your body. However, it only reaches the surface of the implant. This means that your breast implants, unlike the rest of your body, do not have an immune system that can fight infection naturally. This is the reason why implants can be prone to infection.

Four Possible Causes of Breast Implant Infection

4 possible causes of infection in breast implant

  1. Contaminated Breast Wound
    After the recovery, the wounds caused by breast augmentation surgery can be contaminated with microorganisms, like bacteria or fungi. This may appear a few days after the surgery and must immediately be brought the attention of your plastic surgeon in order to give you the right antibiotic. This is the reason why taking extra care to your wound must be taken seriously in order to prevent this type of infection.
  2. Iodine Solutions or Talc
    Silicone implants are safe to use for breast augmentation. However, another way to get an infection happens during the surgery itself. Iodine solutions or talc can be allergenic and may be found in the tools used for surgery. For instance, the use of powdered gloves. But rest assured that in my clinic, we ensure that all our tools are safe to use for the entire procedure.
  3. Bacteria or Fungus in Your Blood
    Infections on your breast implants may not arise right after the surgery. In some cases, your implants can get an infection in the years following your procedure. This is why due diligence must be observed in the years after surgery. Again, this is not a common occurrence but it is still a potential risk that you have to be aware of. Theoretically, when bacteria or fungus is in your bloodstream, it can reach your implant and seed there. This will cause an infection which may get worse if not addressed right away. For example, dental works that include cleaning and fighting infections. These may cause the bacteria from your teeth to travel throughout your entire body via your bloodstream. Thus, it is important to inform your future doctors about your breast implants so they can prescribe an antibiotic as a precaution.
  4. Getting a Piercing or Tattoo in the Surgical Area
    If you plan to get a tattoo or piercing near or on your breasts and nipples, think twice. These can be the cause of your implants’ infection especially if the tools are not properly sterilized. Make sure that you are using clean tools during your tattoo or piercing sessions and that the entire procedure is clean and safe.

How to prevent breast implant infection

Chills, fever, pain, redness, and irritation in your breasts can be signs of an implant infection. Once you notice these symptoms on your body, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with your board-certified plastic surgeon. Antibiotics may be used as an initial treatment but also keep in mind that the infection can lead to the removal of your implant.

Again, breast implant infections are not common occurrences. It is never wrong to educate yourselves about the potential risks and complications that may arise from your cosmetic surgeries. I hope that this will make your more diligent with your body and more proactive when it comes to your overall healthcare.

If you wish to set up an appointment with me, head to this page and fill up the contact form. Have a beautiful and safe day ahead!

Cara Downey, MD

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Cara Downey provides cosmetic surgery procedures to Houston and the surrounding areas.

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