Can Infection from a Breast Aug Travel to Another Part of the Body, Like the Finger?

I am 31 years old with three children. I am 5'8" and 110 lbs. I had a breast augmentation a year and a half ago. I bottomed out three times, had strattice placed the fourth time, three months later had infection, removal of implants, and had them replaced 6 months ago. Needless to say, I had 7 surgeries in a year and a half. My middle finger is red and swollen, similar to how my breast was from infection before. Can infection from a breast augmentation travel to another part of the body?

Doctor Answers (10)

Sounds like an isolated finger infection

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Hello,

It sounds like you currently have a finger infection but no breast infection, correct?  If this is the case your finger infection is an isolated event.  Although infections can spread it would highly unusual to have an active breast infection spread to your finger.  When such infections do occur they usually co-exist.  That is, one infection is present in the same time frame as the other.

All the best,

Dr Repta


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Spread of breast infection

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Yes, infections can travel from one location to another in your body by the blood stream or lymphatic system. However, in your case, it seems unlikely that your finger infection is related to your previous breast infections since your breast infection was quite a while ago. On the other hand, the infection in your finger can spread and effect your implants. Thus, getting you finger infection cared for should be a priority.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Will a Breast Infection Spread

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As you have been told, an infection in one part of the body can spread to another location through the bloodstream. However, in your case it seems unlikely because you had your last surgery 6 months ago, and, more importantly, if the infection was severe enough to give you a swollen infected finger, you would certainly be expected to have symptoms at least as severe in your breast. Finger infections can become serious problems very quickly and have lasting effects, so be sure to get this checked out right away.

Joseph Fata, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

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Breast augmentation and infection in the finger

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It is far more likely that infection in another part of the body would spread to the breast because the implant is a foreign body and can hold onto infection.

Despite that it's unlikely that the breasts led to this infection your finger it's not impossible. With the amount of problems you had this one thing that I think you and your doctor should consider. This is an atypical type of infection a fungal infection are a mycobacterial infection as opposed to a bacterial infection.

These type of infections are insidious and take a long time to treat and heal so they can be recurrent. These type of infections also are low grade type of infections meaning that they don't give you high fevers, don't produce a lot of pus but they don't go away. If you are just having redness and not really having fevers and massive swelling like most bacterial infections would cause you must consider these other type of organisms. Seeing your physician and discussing the possible need for an infectious disease consult may not be a bad idea.

Wendell Perry, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
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Finger infectiona nd breast infection

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It is highly unlikely that your finger infection is related to your breast infection.  Either way, you should have the finger evlaluated and treated accordingly.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
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It is possible

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for infection to spread systemically.  If the bacteria got into your blood stream, it is possible that you have a vegitation on your heart valve.  These vegitations can become septic emboli and cause infections in terminal parts of your body (ie- fingers, toes) which can manifest months later.  You should see your primary care doctor to be worked up further.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
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Systematic spread of infection after augmentation

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Any infection, if left untreated, could spread systematically. However, it is extremely unlikely that, six months after surgery, an infection could re-arise in a different part of the body. You should obviously see a physician for evaluation of the finger.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
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Finger infection Related to Breast Infection?

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Thank you for the question.

Although the signs and symptoms (“red and swollen”) may be very similar, it is unlikely that your finger infection is related to your breast infection 6 months ago. It would be very unusual for bacteria to  to lie “dormant” for that period of time only to infect another body part.

Nevertheless, it will be important for you to be evaluated and treated for the finger infection.  If cultures are taken it will be interesting to see if the same organisms ( that were involved with the breast infection)  grow  from the finger culture.

If you want to be certain that there is no connection between the 2 infections then a visit with an infectious disease doctor may be helpful.  He/she may want to evaluate your heart valves to make sure the valves have not been involved.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 781 reviews

Breast implant infection

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It sounds like you've been through a lot with your breast augmentation. It seems unlikely that an infection in your finger developed from past breast implant infections. You should see a physician about your finger to ensure that that infection doesn't spread elsewhere. It is possible that an infection in a remote location such as your finger could result in "seeding" of bacteria on your implant, so make sure that your finger infection gets treated promptly. 

David Yan, MD, FACS
Fairfield Plastic Surgeon
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Did My Breast Implant Infect My Finger?

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Dear IndianaMommy,  I am sorry to hear about the many problems you have had with your breast augmentation procedures.  While it is possible for infections to spread from one part of the body to another area, this usually occurs when there is an active infection at the first site.  Since you noted that your last surgery was six months ago and did not comment about having any more symptoms of infection around your implants, it is unlikely that your implants are the source of the problems you are having with your finger.  Infections can come lots of sources and our bodies are always "at war" against the many bacteria, viruses, and other "bad bugs" which are always willing to take advantage of a weakness in our defenses.  Because infections in the fingers can lead to significant problems, please see a doctor right away!  If you cannot be seen by your primary care doctor, please go to the Emergency Room at your local hospital and get evaluated today!  The only way of getting the correct treatment is to be seen by a doctor who will determine what course of treatment you require.  Hope this helps and good luck with your finger.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
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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.