Could I have an infection 10 years after having breast augmentation?

I have cohesive gel implants placed over the muscle and I have had them for almost 10 years now. A couple days ago I woke up to the left one being sore, swollen and firmer than my right side. Is it possible to have an infection this long after implantation? What could have caused this?

Doctor Answers 7

Delayed infection in implant

Yes it is quite possible to have a delayed infection many years after breast augmentation. Your history also is consistent with a  seroma or fluid collection that is formed around the breast. We think that bacteria can gain access to the fluid that normally exists around the breast at any point in time, even years later. As far as late  seromas, there are lots of thoughts about this with the predominant thinking that the friction of an implant inside of its pocket can cause a constant irritation thus  producing fluid. With the recent change like this in your breasts, I strongly recommend that you see your operating plastic surgeon soon. good luck.

Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Breast issue

It sounds more like a capsular contracture than anything else.  There are some theories as to why this happens but no explanations are 100% proven.  They can occur at anytime.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Late infection after breast augmentation

Yes, it is unfortunately possible to have an infection around a breast implant even years after your surgery.  You can also form a late fluid collection around an implant which can lead to increased swelling and firmness of your breast.  You should make an appointment to see your surgeon who can evaluate you in person, prescribe antibiotics as necessary, and likely will likely coordinate imaging of your breast to further work-up the cause of the swelling and soreness.  Best of luck and I'm sorry you are going through this. 

Claire Duggal, MD
Annapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Need to be evaluated

Anytime you have new swelling or pain after breast augmentation you need to be evaluated by your surgeon to identify the cause it could be an infection or seroma. He or she will be able to examine you and possible get imaging to further evaluate. Good luck! 

Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Breast infection

It is possible to develop issues around breast implants years later. You may have breast inflammation with your cycle, seeding from an infection elsewhere, fluid and/or capsule, etc.

An exam and consultation with a/your plastic surgeon is recommended to discuss your options and expectations. 

Harry T. Haramis, MD, FACS
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Infec tion 10 years post op

The answer is yes but you may have a little bit of mastitis which is inflammation in the breast.Monitor your temp and see your doctor to be sure.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews


It is possible for an implant to get infected long after surgery.  The differential diagnosis is infection of the implant versus mastitis (inflammation or infection of the breast tissue) without infection of the implant.  Your surgeon should be able to determine this.

Luis Villar, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 10 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.