Can Antibiotics Effect the Integrity of a Saline Breast Implant Valve?

a friend of mine was watching this show called 'monsters inside me' which discusses real, rare medical mysteries which are later discovered to be infections, bugs, etc growing in the body. This one episode, this women had saline implants and was on antibiotics for illness. She developed a severe fungal infection that housed itself in her implant. Later the discovered the antibiotic actually affected the integrity of the valve, penetrated it and created an overgrowth of fungus in her implants.

Doctor Answers 12

Breast Implants and Antibiotics: The New Standard of Care

It is safe and effective to irrigate the breast pocket with antibiotics prior to inserting a saline breast implant.  I would actually recommend it.  Dr. William Adams has demonstrated in several published studies the lowering of capsular contracture rates with antibiotic irrigation containing betadyne.  There are no studies showing that antibiotic irrigation is a problem with implant integrity.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Antibiotics affecting Valve in Implants

         No evidence to suggest that.  Fungus is an extremely rare isolate in cultures of infected implants, usually more common in immunocompromised people.  The antibiotic would not create an overgrowth of fungus.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Breast Implant Myth?

 Thank you for the unusual question.

No, antibiotics will not affect the integrity of breast implant valves.  This “story” like many other examples demonstrates the misinformation  available on TV and Internet.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews


I have heard of stories like this, but have never seen it myself nor do I know of any other plastic surgeons who have seen it, so it must be quite rare.  I doubt it had anything to do with antibiotics affecting the integrity of the valve.  If that were the case, the implant manufacturers would have studied it extensively by now.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Implant integrity from antibiotics.

I agree with all of the other physicians' answers in that the integrity of the implant valve is not likely to be violated by antibiotics. If the implant had a fungal infection internally it was likely from the time of implantation and the fluid used to fill it. It is difficult to say for sure how this may have occurred.  

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Implant integrity

Dear Sgfit in Boston,MA:

    The simple answer is no. Antibiotics are commonly used in breast implant procedures both systemic and irrigation without valve injury. If you suffered a deflation you should send the implant back to the manufacture and allow them to study it to see if a reason for failure can be discovered. The truth is over time all valves eventually fail.

Stephen E. Metzinger, MD, MSPH, FACS
Metairie Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Can Antibiotics Affect the Integrity of Saline Breast Implant Valve? #breastimplants

It would be highly unlikely for this to be the cause. I would be careful what you hear and sell yourself on when it comes to the internet.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Fungus inside saline implants; rare, but reported.

First of all, a nugget of truth (we'll get to that in a moment) is often the genesis of a over-hyped, sensationalized, truth-bending (and sometimes just plain false) TV show!

Fact: fungus overgrowth is NOT "created" by antibiotics affecting the valve integrity.

Antibiotics are routinely utilized when any type of implant is used in the human body (breast implant, artificial hip, heart valve, etc.) because none of these man-made objects has blood vessels within them to carry infection-fighting antibodies or blood-borne antibiotics to fight off bacteria (or fungal organisms).

Fungal infections are rare in general, even more rare than already-rare bacterial infections, and require special (different) antibiotics to kill them. None of these are used in primary breast augmentation (though many surgeons, myself included, utilize broad-spectrum antiseptic irrigation fluids like Betadine which kill bacteria AND fungal organisms). Aseptic technique, avoidance of contamination in the operating room, and precise hemostasis (to minimize blood as a culture medium) all help to minimize the risk of infection by anything, bacteria OR fungus.

Putting antibiotics inside saline implants is controversial, but may reduce the risk of bacterial infections (or capsular contracture from bacterial biofilm), while doing nothing to minimize or prevent fungal infection or contamination (if that occurred during the operation). But antibiotics themselves have not been conclusively shown to damage implants or valves, and in and of themselves cannot CAUSE fungal overgrowth inside implants.

Saline implant valves can sometimes be "seated" incompletely by the operating surgeon, allowing bacterial or fungal contamination to enter the "protected environment" (warm, wet, and no antibodies, only ineffectual saline or antibiotic/saline fluid) inside the implant. Fungal growth could then conceivably be seen, and has been reported in the plastic surgical literature.

But when this exceedingly rare event occurs, it's not because antibiotics damaged the valve and somehow magically caused fungus to grow; rather, a leaky valve (usually surgeon error, sometimes manufacturer flaw) allows fungal contamination to enter the implant. Fungal growth can then occur, whether antibiotics are present or not, since special anti-fungal antibiotics are not used inside implants or given orally or intravenously with implant surgery.

Since there is a leaky or damaged valve that allowed fungal organisms to enter the implant interior, they can also leak out, causing systemic illness. Super-rare, and the nugget of truth that stimulated the "sensational" TV show!

BTW, this is one of several reasons I do not like saline implants, though I have never seen more than a speck of foreign body EVER in any removed saline implant in over 25 years and thousands of  augmentation patients.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Effect of antibiotics on saline impalnt valve

Internet is full of some most useless and some most useful information and it depend which one you use it for your advantage.I am not aware of any such thing ever happening to my patients.


Ashok Govila, FRCS, MCh, MS
Dubai Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Fungal infection of breast implant almost unheard of.


I really would not worry about this (sensationalism).  There are only two reported cases of fungal infections in implants in the whole world literature, that I am aware of.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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.