4 Causes of Breast Implant Infection

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 implants can bring, it is still very important to know of any possible breast implant complications and risks.

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. 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 plastic surgery forever. The cases that you may find online could be horrendous but in reality, infected breast implants are very rare. Less than 2% of cosmetic augmentations result in 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.

What Causes Breast Implant Infection?

  1. Contaminated Breast Wounds
    During recovery, the wounds caused by breast augmentation surgery can be contaminated with microorganisms. This must immediately be brought to the attention of your plastic surgeon in order to give you the right antibiotic. Leftover breast cancer cells can also immediately cause problems after reconstruction.
  2. Allergens in the Surgery Tools
    Breast implants are safe to use for breast augmentation. However, iodine solutions or talc can be allergenic and may be found in the tools used for surgery, such as surgical gloves. Rest assured that in my clinic, we ensure that all our tools are safe to use for the entire procedure.
  3. Infections in Your Blood
    In some cases, your implants can get an infection in the years following your procedure. This may be due to fungal or bacterial infections from other areas of the body spreading via your blood. Other times, cell lymphoma (cancer of the blood’s lymphocytes) can spread to your implants and infect surrounding scar tissue.
  4. Getting a Piercing or Tattoo in the Surgical Area
    Unsterilized piercing or tattoo tools can easily lead to infection. I recommend avoiding these procedures if you are getting implants, but if you insist, ensure that only the cleanest of tools are used.

How to Prevent Breast Implant Infection

Once you notice any 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.

It is never wrong to educate yourself about the potential risks and complications that may arise from your breast augmentation. I hope that this will make you more diligent with your body and more proactive when it comes to your overall healthcare.