Breast Augmentation post op infection--is removal absolutely necessary? (photos)

I'm 2 weeks post op and just found out if have an infection in the left breast. It's always been a little more tender and swollen than the right side, but they told me that would fade out. Yesterday was the first time it was actually painful. Called my doc and he's calling for immediate removal, irrigation of the cavity, and waiting 4-6 months before they can be replaced--based solely on the pics below. I absolutely do not want them removed if I can avoid it. What's the facts of the matter?

Doctor Answers 14

Infected implant

It may be possible to wash out only and try keeping the implant in but you will will need to commit to a few days in hospital and intravenous antibiotics and a 6 week course of oral antibiotics if you want to try this - also if you become at all unwell or have a temperature or things deteriorate you must take the implant out. If a trial of keeping the implant in after a washout does not work then you will need another op to take it out and then replacement later - so by choosing that course it may cost you more and entail more inconvenience in the long term  -something to be discussed and have some agreement on with your surgeon 

Post breast augmentation infection... is implant removal necessary?

The issue you are dealing with basically boils down to whether your infection is limited to the outer skin around the incision or whether the bacteria is actually located inside the breast implant pocket. Superficial skin infections can sometimes be treated with antibiotics alone. However, if the infection/bacteria is located inside the pocket (diagnosed with a culture) the implant must be removed in order to clear the infection. Best of luck.

Jeffrey K. Scott, MD
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Implant infection

I cannot give you a surgical recommendation without direct examination.

If an infection is caught early, wash-out and implant exchange can be an option.  Removing the left implant and placing the implant back in 3-6 months is also a safe, conservative way to address your problem.  

Your plastic surgeon should examine you in-person and give you his recommendation and provide you with pros and cons of each option.

Best regards.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Post Op Complications


I realize that complications like these can be very frustrating and confusing for the patient. I recommend that you trust your Plastic Surgeon. They are being proactive and aggressive for a good reason. Infection in the pocket cannot be resolved without implant removal and the complications you could experience if left untreated could be very serious. I recommend that you follow up closely with your Plastic Surgeon and not take any chances with your health.

All the best 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Possible deep space infection

It is difficult to tell if your problem is towards the surface or deeper. If it does involve the deep space around the implant,  the implant unfortunately needs to be removed.  Your surgeon can examine you and make that call.  This could become a potentially life threatening problem.  I hope it is not involving the deep space, but if it is, you need treatment asap. 

Matthew H. Conrad, MD
Wichita Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Implant removal after breast augmentation

Dear bernardsm

If the infection is limited to the skin antibiotic can work. Unfortunately when the infection spread to the implant the antibiotic does not work as the implant is a foreign body and has got no blood supply so that antibiotic cannot clear the infection.

The decision of removing an implant is sometimes difficult but necessary if the infection does not clear quickly because you could end very poorly with an infection of your blood call septicaemia.

Best Wishes

Mr Netri

Giorgio Netri, MBBS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


I'm sorry you are experiencing a complication with your surgery.  It is difficult to tell from the photos if the breast is infected.  If you have pain (which you said you do), fever, and tenderness then the right decision is to remove the implant.  Visit with your surgeon who will better be able to answer your questions after an examination.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Implant Infection


Your surgeon is doing the absolute correct thing for you. It is imperative not to wait or try antibiotics, either oral or intravenous, in hopes of eradicating the infection.  The implant needs to be removed and the sooner it is the less tissue injury you will incur from the infection.

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Do you have to remove an infected breast implant

Thank you for your question and I am sorry to hear you are having post-operative complications. It is hard to tell from the pictures if you have an infection or simply a reaction to the sutures. If you are currently taking antibiotics and your breast is progressively getting more tender, red and painful or you have a fever, this is indicative of an infection. If you do have an infection, unfortunately the best option is to remove the implant, clean out the pocket and leave the implant out for several months. No plastic surgeon wants a patient to be in this situation, but if you do have an infection, your plastic surgeon is taking the correct route. Once you heal and the new implant is replaced, you will still have a very nice result. It is just going to take longer to get you there than you or your surgeon would like. Good luck to you.

Breast Augmentation post op infection--is removal absolutely necessary?

Im sorry to hear that you are having complications with your surgery. It's hard to tell wheter or not you have an infection based on the pictures. But if it is you approach that your surgeon is following is the correct one. Good luck 

Franco R. Jacome, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.