Concerned about risks & success to have a new implant put back in on one side after infection of mycobacterium fortuitum.

Had breast implant exchg surgery in 5/15 soon after developed infection it was streph & mycobacterium fortuitum on 1 side. IV antibiotics (VK) for month to try to save implant had to remove found out the bacteria type & put on clarithromycin. Infection gone about 7 wks off antibiotics, Concerns as still unsure how I caught it (infectious disease Dr. thinks the 1 implant was infected from start), what if colonization of bacteria in tissue, and lastly the look. I had implants 11yrs no problems

Doctor Answers 5

Breast revsion

Breast implant infections are very rare but sometimes can happen. And I think it would be more likely in a revision which is what it sounds like you had. But even so the chances are less than 1% for an infection. It could have been some kind of contamination during the surgery or it could have been afterwards if a sweat drop found it's way into the incision. You will never know the cause but if you let it heal for several months and have no problems with recurrent infection I think it would be fine to replace the implant. Reinfection would always be a possibility but the likelihood of infection is very low. 

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Infection in breast implants

Whatever the source of the contamination I would seek the counsel of an infectious disease expert. I would have you wait at least 3 months of infection free to replace a new implant. Use Keller funnel and have you bathe with Chlorhexidine for a few days before surgery. Good luck

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Had a Mycobacterium infection and have concerns about a new implant

It is good news your over your infection.  Mycobacterium is an unusual infection.  Usually it is Staph. or Strep. infection.   Since you have had proper treatment, the implant can be placed again with minimal risk.  I would wait about 3 months following the stoppage of your last dose of antibiotics.  Then when your reintroducing the implant you might want to have your PS coordinate with infectious disease what antibiotics to use.

Christopher Costanzo, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Implant Infection


I'm sorry to hear about your problem. Drains are used frequently in reoperative cases, and are the cause of implant infections more than anything else. Skin is the most common source of staph contamination of implants. However, mycobacterium isn't. Your surgeon should check his sterilizing equipment, as an instrument may have been contaminated. 

Regardless, infectious disease should pre-treat you for a week prior to surgery with antibiotics that the germs were sensitive to and you'll be fine. 

Best of luck!

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


Mycobacterium is a tough bug to get rid of and it may live in tissues for a long time.  You should discuss your plans to replace implants with your infectious disease specialist and your plastic surgeon. 

Yuly Gorodisky, DO, FACOS
Oxnard Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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