Patient’s Responsibility to Avoid Breast Implant Infection

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A skilled plastic surgeon with extensive experience in breast augmentation surgery will make every effort to minimize risk of breast implant infection through proper patient selection, sterility of implants and surgical equipment, use of systemic antibiotics—just to name a few.

However, a good patient should also do her part to further minimize the risk of infection and its subsequent complications that may require reoperation and implant removal.

*  Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke for at least 3 weeks. Some extra conservative doctors even recommend complete cessation of tobacco products for two months to give the body more time to recover from their ill effects.

Studies have suggested that smokers are significantly more prone to infection and poor healing than non-smokers due to their suppressed immune system and constricted blood vessels, which are the effects of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals and toxins found in tobacco products.

Some doctors even require a random nicotine test through urine samples to make sure that their patients are telling them the truth.

* Avoid submerging the incisions in water for at least 3-4 weeks to make sure that they are completely healed and “water-tight.” Swimming or using bathtubs and pools too soon may cause infection and other healing problems.

*  Follow postop wound care instructions. The general rule of thumb is to keep the incisions clean and dry and avoid possible sources of infection such as poor hygiene (not washing hands with antibacterial soap before changing one’s dressing), pets, and dirty bed lines.

*  Be at one’s best health. Healthy patients have strong immune system to fight off infection, thus proper diet (i.e., more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, poultry, and legumes) is important especially during recovery.

Also, any pre-existing medical condition must be addressed or at least controlled prior to surgery to further minimize the risk of infection.

*  Antibiotics. Should antibiotics are recommended after surgery, a prudent patient should finish the full course of their medications. 
Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon