How to Recognize Infection Symptoms After Breast Augmentation?

HI, I got a breast augmentation 1 month ago and my right breast is still red on the top and kinda tender (more than the other one). I don't have a fever. My doctor has already had me on 2 courses of different antibiotics but I don't know if I have an infection...

How can I detect if this is an infection or just normal recovery from the breast implants? Thanks

Doctor Answers 30


If your surgeon has seen you, then he or she has taken a history and done an exam to arrive at a conclusion.   The post procedure skin changes tightness, swelling, and tenderness will not usually be soft and stable until after 3 months. 

Redness after breast implants

Redness and tenderness can be a signs of infection or inflammation with or without fluid collection. Your surgeon is best able to answer this question for you - you should be seeing your surgeon regularly until your symptoms have resolved entirely. It is very important that you contact him or her with any changes (increased redness, pain, fever). Best of luck.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Check back in with your surgeon

It sounds as if you’ve been in close contact with your plastic surgeon following your breast augmentation, which is a good start. However, if you still notice redness and tenderness in one breast only even after two rounds of antibiotics, I think it’s time to check back in with your surgeon. Not every infection will include a fever, so the fact that your temperature is normal doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that something else is wrong. Don’t be shy about following up with your plastic surgeon, as it’s his or her job to keep an eye on your health after your procedure.

Inflammation, fluid or infection

You should be in close contact with your surgeon.  Sometimes, a seroma (fluid collection) can create an inflammatory condition that improves with surgery to change out the implant and wash out the space.  I've had to do this once in 15 years on a breast augmentation patient.  Your surgeon can best determine if you need this or antibiotics or neither.  Inflammation may increase your risk of capsular contracture so you should stay in close contact with your surgeon. 

Close follow-up is advised

Redness alone is not enough to make the diagnosis of an implant infection.  Sometimes the skin or the breast tissue can become inflamed.  If the implant is not involved, it can improve with antibiotics.  This may increase the risk of capsular contracture.  You need to have close follow up with the plastic surgeon.

Breast Augmentation Infection Symptoms

Bacterial infection symptoms are pain, tenderness, swelling, and redness. There may also be pus. If your surgeon is already aware of your situation, then you are probably following a suitable course of treatment. 

Breast implant infection

It is critical to inform your plastic surgeon about any questions or concerns you have after any surgery. Following breast augmentation surgery is is typical for patients to have an appointment 1 - 2 days after surgery, at one week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 month, six month and 12 month however, if you have any concerns between appointments contact your plastic surgeons office right away. They will want to see you.  

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 reviews


Unfortunately, without a complete history and physical exam and through pre operative photography there is not enough information to make an informed plan, please consult your surgeon or another local board certified plastic surgeon

Breast implant infection

Very important question - and definitely one you want to have answered definitively. You need very close follow up by your plastic surgeon. If you do have an infection it needs to be treated aggressively. Best of luck.

You Need to be Re-Evaluated By Your Plastic Surgeon to Determine if You Have a Breast Infection

Infection following breast augmentation is a serious complication that can result in patients losing their breast implants. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, drainage, pain, fever and occasionally flu like symptoms.

When any of these symptoms occur, they should be investigated aggressively. This may include laboratory studies, ultrasonography, and possibly aspiration of fluid within the breast pocket for culture.

It’s important that you be re-evaluated by your plastic surgeon. Your clinical course doesn’t seem to be improving, despite two courses of antibiotics. In addition, you continue to have unilateral redness and tenderness. These findings suggest that infection is definitely a possibility.

If it is determined that you have an infection, aggressive treatment will be necessary to salvage your breast implants. This would include an infectious disease consultation, appropriate culture specific antibiotics and possible re- exploration of the breast pocket with aggressive cleansing. Even with these maneuvers, once infection is established within the breast pocket, removal of breast implants is usually necessary.

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.