Could this be an infection? (Photos)

6 weeks ago I had a BA & developed a fever 4 days later: 5 days (39.5C) & stinging pain in the outer side left breast. My surgeon was not concerned, I was still on AB post-OP. The pain resolved after 2 weeks but the right side hardened close to the incision area with a soft swelling towards the rib area. My surgeon thought it was a lymphedema. Yesterday the left breast Turned red, too. I don't have a fever but my lymph nodes are swollen in the axilla. I planed vacation for 11/10 and am worried.

Doctor Answers 10

Could this be an infection?

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Thanks for the excellent history and photos. Unfortunately, based on this limited information (physical examination and blood tests are necessary as well), I too am concerned. You need to be seen by your surgeon, and a more aggressive effort undertaken to diagnose or rule out an infection. "Wait and see" is a pretty poor plan when the end result of a "missed" or untreated infection may be the need to remove implants. 

Incisional (or soft tissue) cellulitis IS treatable, but not if infection progresses to the point of contaminating/infecting one or both of your implants (and if only one is infected, who wants one in and one out?).

You see, if your implants become infected or even bacteria-contaminated, they almost never can be "sterilized" by any oral or IV antibiotic therapy, no matter how strong, expensive, or administered via infectious disease consultant. Yet that is the course taken by many plastic surgeons when confronted by this issue, since implant removal is so devastating to the patient (and who pays for those extra operations to remove (and later replace) the implants?)

What I'm saying is that this is a potentially severe problem, and too many of my colleagues would rather avoid the diagnosis than admit the reality--I've cared for a few infections from other surgeons with exactly the above scenario. So see your surgeon and ask about antibiotic therapy after a blood test to check your WBC count and differential, or if there is any droplet of drainage, culture. ASAP, please! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Infection possible after breast augmentation

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Certainly see your surgeon before heading out on your vacation. It sounds suspicious for a low grade infection and I would make sure your surgeon see you in person soon for best advice.  Best wishes. 

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Could this be an infection?

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Hello dear, thanks for your question and provided information as well, at the first 3 to 5 months, it is too soon to determine how your results are going to be, per now, they look very nice and beautiful, you can have one bigger than the other, feel swollen and also have bruises and open wounds, it is normal and that can happen for the first 3 to 4 months until your implants have settle in. I recommend you to wait and keep using your post surgical bra, that will help you with the shape and support. If the problem persists contact your surgeon.

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 442 reviews

Follow up with your surgeon

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Contact your surgeons office to be seen sooner rather than later. This needs to be evaluated in person. Best wishes. 

Dean Vistnes, MD.

Vistnes Plastic Surgery

San Francisco Bay Area

#drdeanvistnes #realself #breastaugmentation

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Post Op Complication

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Unfortunately, If you have a bacterial infection in the implant pockets they will have to be removed.  it is important that you be tested properly and treated. Please see your Plastic Surgeon and ask for further investigation ASAP.

All the best


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Thank you for your question and pictures.  I too would be concerned.  With the combination of prior fever, and now redness, swelling and enlarged lymph nodes, they may certainly be an infection.  See your PS ASAP and if he continues to dismiss your concerns seek a second opinion from a Board Certified PS, especially before you go away on vacation.

Ramiro Morales, Jr., MD
Pembroke Pines Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Implant Infection

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You should be seen as soon as possible to determine if your implant is infected. If so, the sooner you remove both implants the better. Trying to treat this with antibiotics is a loosing proposition, and will lead to unnecessary soft tissue injury. Please do not waste time, and do not hesitate to remove implants. Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Possible infection

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Thanks for your inquiry and picture.  I agree your picture is concerning, please be seen by your surgeon and best of luck.  

Redness of breast

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It could very well be an infection, and you should be seen in person to be properly evaluated. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants/Breast Implant Revision

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I appreciate your question.

Since there has been a change in your post op course, please contact your surgeon so he/she can examine you and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative breast surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



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.