Second Try with Breast Expanders. Last Removed Due to Infection. Now Having Another. Why?

I need to know why I keep having these infections. in the right side of my chest wall, is it because my cancer started there and they removed my lymp nodes?

Doctor Answers 4

Tissue expander infection

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In may situations with breast implants or any medical device that has developed an infection it is difficult to get that infection completely out of the tissues. If you have abdominal tissue or inner thigh tissue then you have options to avoid the use of expanders or implants and can have a breast reconstruction.

Options for Breast Reconstruction after Expander Infection

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Depending on your general health, and other factors, breast reconstruction with autologous tissue flaps consisting of your own skin, fat and muscle tissues may be a good option.  

The expander is removed, the infection is treated, and the mastectomy site is allowed to heal and soften. Then the breast reconstruction can be carrier out with any number of flaps.  

The advantage of the flap breast reconstruction approach is that you have no need for expanders or breast implants, and your reconstructed breast will be fashioned from your own tissues providing you with a warm, soft, natural breast.

For more information on these and other techniques for breast reconstruction see

Fredrick A. Valauri, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Why I keep having Breast Tissue Expander infection?

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I feel the frustration in your question and no answer I give you will change what you are going through. But - EVERY implant we place in the body, be it a breast implant, heart valve or knee joint is prone to infection. Infection may be seen in more than 2% of breast tissue expanders and can happen at the time of surgery or weeks and years later as infection elsewhere in the body reaches the implant. Decreased immunity, decreased nutrition, radiation and other factors have been associated with it.

The only safe way to proceed is to remove the expander. Another try may be attempted several months later when the area is clear. Another option, if available, would be a breast reconstruction using your own tissues without the use of expanders or implants.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Infected tissue expander

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Once you have an infection with an implant or tissue expander, the implant need to be removed and wait atleast 6 months before reinsertion of another tissue expander. Even with that waiting peroid you are still at a higher risk for infectio.Because bacteria can stay dormant in the scar.

Also if you had radiation therapy the chances of implat failure is much higher.

Flap reconstruction is another option

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.