20 Year Old Implants - Just Now Getting an Infection?

I had silicone implants 20 years ago. One of them has always been encapsulated. Last week that same breast developed a sore that's been diagnosed as cellulitis, though there's not been an injury. When the urgent care doc cut it to drain the sore he saw black stuff just under my skin. He refused to go any further for fear of hurting my implant. But my implants are beneath the muscle and this was just below the surface of the skin. I'm FREAKING out about it. What could it possibly be??

Doctor Answers (11)

MAY NEED TO TAKE IT OUT

+2

Please see a plastic surgeon immediately.After clinical examination & a scan he may advise taking it out.

The chances of it being superficial skin infection are slim.


India Plastic Surgeon

Infected implant

+2

You certainly could have an infected implant.  Although it is really, really unusual, implants can be "seeded" with bacteria many years after implantation.  I had one of my own patients experience this a couple of weeks after a severe sinus infection. 

You need to see a plastic surgeon ASAP.  If this implant is infected, it needs to come out.  Delaying removal can cause a lot of damage to your breast tissue and skin and could also result in a serious systemic infection.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa L. Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

What to do with exposed Breast Implant?

+2

Regarding: "20 Year Old Implants - Just Now Getting an Infection?
I had silicone implants 20 years ago. One of them has always been encapsulated. Last week that same breast developed a sore that's been diagnosed as cellulitis, though there's not been an injury. When the urgent care doc cut it to drain the sore he saw black stuff just under my skin. He refused to go any further for fear of hurting my implant. But my implants are beneath the muscle and this was just below the surface of the skin. I'm FREAKING out about it. What could it possibly be
??"

You did not have an infection of the breast for 20 years. IF you indeed had cellulitis (as opposed to a misdiagnosis) it was probably unrelated to your original surgery. What is clear is that the ER doctor cut into what he thought was an infection but encountered the black appearing wall of your implant. By definition, the implant has been exposed and contaminated. I would advise you to either see your original Plastic surgeon or find another Plastic surgeon to see you. You MAY need to have the implant removed.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

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Exposed black stuff 20 years after breast augmentation

+2

Hi,

You need to see a board certified plastic surgeon quickly. The exposed black material may very well be your implant; along the lower portion of the breast, the muscle usually retracts and the implant is sitting directly below the skin. It's very possible that your implant is exposed and contaminated. If that's the case, it will need to come out.

Best of luck.

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The black stuff is probably your exposed implant

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When an implant is exposed through the skin, because there is no light behind it, it looks black.  You should immediately see a plastic surgeon and if this is the case, you will need the implant removed asap.

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Breast Implant Complications

+2

Signs of infection such as redness or skin changes with underlying breast implants requires urgent attention. With long standing implants, contractures, and/or overlying tissue thinning you can also have an impending Implant exposure. Seeing "black stuff" is worrisome. Sometimes implants that are too close the skin can give off a dark bluish or purplish hue. I would have this looked and treated ASAP. 

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Infection years after surgery

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It is possible to get an infection many years after your surgery. If you have as concern you should se e you surgeon or find another board certified plastic surgeon for a better evaluation. Best of luck. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
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Infection and breast

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After an incision and drainage of a small breast infection, you want to make sure that you are not seeing the implant. I would see a plastic surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
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Breast Implant Infection

+1

There have been reports of breast implants developing infection 18-20 years after implantation.  It is rare, but does occur.

I agree with the recommendation of seeing a board certified plastic surgeon for evaluation and treatment.

Best of Luck.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
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20 year old implants

+1

In all likelihood the "black stuff" beneath the skin is probably the implant itself even if it was put beneath the muscle. You should seek evaluation by a plastic surgeon to review your options.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.