Did They Really Have to Remove Implants Without Infection?

3 weeks since my surgery and my implants were removed today. I don't understand why removal was my only option. My fluids were negative for infection. The infection on the incision cleared up.The redness and swelling went down and things looked nice.The decision was made to remove because the inside stitches on the left opened and a the implant was showing through a small hole and looked black.Being that there is no other infection couldn't they have just cleaned the pocket and put a new implant?

Doctor Answers 5

Implants have to be removed if exposed

Thank you for your question. The fact that cultures came negative for infection, doesn't mean that the implants aren't colonized by bacteria, and an infection could arise in any minute if left. Implants are foreign bodies, meaning that as they are not reached by blood, neither are the medication, thus making them a hazard when exposed, because if bacteria colonize the implant surface, no matter how much antibiotic you give, unless you remove them, there will always be a focus on infection in your breast.

When exposed, implant removal is the way to go. After everything clears up, you can always do it again with new implants. That's how I deal with it, but remember to always confirm with your board certified plastic surgeon to see what applies to your case. Good luck!

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Removal of exposed implant

Once the implant is exposed, the risk of infection and contamination is such that the standard of care requires explantation. Cleaning the pocket doesn't guarantee that colonization of infection has been eradicated and this can only be assured by removal and then waiting to insert another implant. Sorry to hear that you had to go down this route but let's hope that you recover quickly and can have a secondary operation in a couple of months.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Removal of Breast Implant after Implant Exposure?

I am sorry to hear about the complication you have experienced. Your question is a reasonable one. Even though there may have been no active signs of infection, once a breast implant is exposed, the best course of action ( in terms of avoiding infection and/or other complications) is USUALLY breast implant removal. As you mentioned, sometimes a “salvage” procedure,  involving washing out the pocket and replacing the breast implant etc. is an option.  This option is infrequently selected.

 Ultimately, it does become a judgment call whether the breast implant should be removed or not.  Hopefully, the situation encountered during this procedure was such that reaugmentation can be done in a timely fashion.  Of course, your plastic surgeon will be the best judge when it comes to timing for reaugmention;  this can usually be done with in a few months to one year after the removal.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Implant removal without gross infection?

With implant exposure, and redness, although your cultures were presumably negative ( were you on antibiotics), it sounds like the safest thing to do was to remove the implant.I have to defer to your surgeon for the judgement call based upon the brief history you gave.

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

Breast Implant Infection

We only see or told a very abbreviated history of the problem. There was redness, swelling, fluid and implant exposure. All this points to probable implant infection. you probably was put on antibiotics. Therefore culture of the fluid after antibiotics would be negative in spite of the presence of infection. Once the diagnosis of implant infection is made clinical or otherwise, the implant hs to be removed to be able to control the infection.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.