For a Biofilm Infection on a Breast Expander; is It Safe to Remove and Replace in 1 Surgery?

I am 8 months post-mastectomy, with expanders in, and my dr thinks I have a biofilm infection on one side. I have been on zyvox 3 weeks. Do I need to remove expander and wait several weeks before putting in a new expander, or is it safe to do an expander exchange in a single surgery? Also, should I do a lat flap procedure in this same surgery to get vascular tissue to fight any recurrent biofilm? If I wait between removal and new expander, is a lat flap less likely to be needed?

Doctor Answers 1

Biofilm Infection

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There are so many factors that go into this complex decision that only a surgeon who has examined you and reviewed your course can make the best recommendation.

As a general rule it is probably safest to remove the expander and regroup in a few months. 

A latissimus flap might decrease but not eliminate the elevated risk of recurrent infection if a new expander or implant is placed and the biofilm excised. But the chances of symmetry would be reduced unless a lat flap is done on both sides. A lat flap is less likely to be needed if you wait. 

Your surgeon, having examined and followed you has much more basis to make a sensible recommendation than any online consultant has.

Thank you for your question, best wishes for a less eventful continuation of your recovery.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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