Breast Implants + Tattoos + Antibiotics?

Hello, I am aware about the suggestion of taking antibiotics before any dental works, but what about when getting a tattoo done? Would it be a good idea also? Thank you very much.

Doctor Answers 8

Breast implants and tatoos

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Antibiotics are overused for most patients. If there are concerns that your tatoo person is not using sterile procedure I would consider using a different tatoo parlor over antibiotics.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Antibiotics for tattoos with breast implants

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There is no sound information if antibiotics are indicated for those who will have a tattoo, or even dental work for that matter. Some tattoo artists even practice good asepsis, or they should.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Antibiotics With Implants And Tattoo

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Most plastic surgeons would not recommend taking antibiotics when having a tattoo with breast implants in place.  In fact, most plastic surgeons would not recommend the use of antiotics with implants when having dental procedures.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Breast Implants + Tattoos + Antibiotics?

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No one is likely to have a scientific answer to this, so we are left with balancing risks and benefits to the best of our ability.

  • Dental work--sometimes( but not always bloodless) work in a bacteria laden field. There is no clear consensus here, some recommend, some don't recommend antibiotics.
  • Tattoo--cleaner area (skin) with many fewer bacteria, but clearly invasive (bleeding). I would consider the risks to be similar.  

The risk of a single dose of antibiotics is rather small. The benefit of avoiding infection or capsular contracture sounds large, but the number of problems prevented may be small enough that the risk may be greater than the benefit, and there lies the absence of consensus among surgeons.

Do check with your own surgeon, who will have to decide to write the prescription!

Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Great question!

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I am one of the minority of plastic surgeons who DO recommend oral antibiotic prophylaxis with dental work, or any invasive procedure which produces a bacteremia (there aren't many, but dental work is the most common). I have seen 5 cases (over the 27 years I have been performing breast augmentation) of late unilateral and 1 bilateral cpasular contracture after many years of absolute softness (examined and verified), where the only relatable occurrences are dental procedures, including cleaning. No trauma or other identifiable cause.

The hypothesis is that it's not JUST exposure to the bacteria in your mouth that get into your blood stream after dental work, but also a minor, often unremembered bump or bruise to the breast (or breasts) that allow those circulating bloodstream bacteria to "get into" the space around your implants and stimulate capsular contracture from the bacteria-induced biofilm. Antibiotics may not prevent the minor trauma, but will help to kill the bacteria before a critical exposure is reached IF such a trauma and exposure coincide.

So, you ask about tattooing. The skin is indeed damaged. but this is not a bacteria-filled environment like the mouth, so unless you have chronic acne issues or the tattoo is extensive, I would not recommend antibiotics here either. Dental work, colonoscopic polyp removal, cervical cone, etc. YES, but tattoo session or ear piercing, NO.

Thanks for asking! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Antibiotics before Getting Tattoo after Breast Augmentation?

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There is no scientific study that I am aware of regarding the incidence of bacteremia associated with people getting tattoos; I do not think that there is an indication for taking antibiotics prior to getting a tattoo done.

Best wishes.

Breast Implants and Antibiotics for Other Medical Procedures

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There is no scientific evidence that antibiotics prevent infection around implants at the time of dental procedures, or any procedure, including tatoos..  The same is true of people that have other material in their body such as pacemakers or artificial hips.  In fact use of antibiotics might be considered unsafe, contributing to more organisms that are drug resistant. Please review the Medical Letters review of this subject in 2012  (Med Lett Drugs Ther 2012; 54.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews


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Hi Kuromi,

I do not routinely recommend that woman who has undergone Breast Augmentation go on antibiotics prior to having a tattoo.

Todd B. Koch, MD
Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 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.