How would someone end up sepsis and with MRSA after mini tummy tuck and fat transfer from legs to breast? (photo)

I went to a board certified plastic surgeon.Had mini tummy tuck, lipo on stomach and thighs and then fat transferred to my breast. Whole procedure lasted less than 3 hours. Doc put around 400 cc in each breast. Then 14 days later ended up in ER with Sepsis and MRSA had stomach and breast drained and was released 5 days later. Any idea's what went wrong I am aware of complications but this seems a little extreme. Pic is 5 days after surgery before getting compression garment.

Doctor Answers 3

MRSA is unfortunately not uncommon these days

Unfortunately, an infection is always a possibility any time a patient undergoes surgery. Obviously performing a clean surgery with appropriate sterile technique goes a long way in reducing this chance, as does using appropriate peri-operative antibiotics. However, even with both of these done, infections like you experienced can still happen as MRSA is very virulent and frequently present, often on patient's own bodies or their loved ones or surroundings.

At this point, the best thing to do is ensure close followup with your treating physicians so the infection is cleared and everything heals as good as possible. In the future for any other surgical procedures you may have to undergo (plastic surgery or otherwise), you may want to talk with your doctor about your MRSA experience as it may change the antibiotics used for surgical prophylaxis in your case.

MRSA is everywhere

It may seem extreme, but it can and does happen.  MRSA is ubiquitous these days.  It has been found in high school gyms and in health care settings such as hospitals.  Care givers can become unknowingly colonized.  MRSA can be aggressive and cause infections after procedures where the infection rates are already low.  Infections following face lifts are vanishingly rare (0.6%).  When they do occur, a recent study found that 80% were due to MRSA.  In the same study, two of the patients (who required IV antibiotics and hospitalization) had visited family in the hospital prior to their own procedures.

Plastic surgeons all try to take pre-emptive precautions prior to any procedure, including Hibiclens scrubs and pre and post administration of antibiotics. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not enough.  Sadly, we have entered the 'post-antibiotic era" in certain arenas of health care partly due their overuse ironically.  Ancef, a standard peri-operative IV antibiotic used during plastic surgery procedures, possess poor coverage for MRSA.  


MRSA - infection after routine cosmetic surgery

Thank you for asking about your liposuction, fat transfer and mini-tuck.

  • I am really sorry this happened.
  • Fortunately you are being cared for by a competent, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
  • Unfortunately, MRSA - methicillin resistant S. aureus infection - is found almost everywhere these days.
  • It is more common i n hospitals but can be found after any surgery or injury.
  • The factors I look for in post-operative infections are those that increase your risk, e.g. smoking, obesity.
  • And those that expose you to infection - including caring for pets after surgery, working in a hospital or being cared for by someone who works in a hospital.
  • Ask your surgeon about the factors that may have contributed to your infection -
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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.