Do I really have to take antibiotics after breast augmentation?

I REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE ANTIBIOTICS. In fact I HATE all types of medication TAKEN ORALLY. I only take Tylenol if I'm ever sick. I eat healthy, don't drink, don't smoke, and medication is something I would rather keep out my system. I don't mind needles and medications through IV but I will never do anything orally. I have seen a few plastic surgeons and some have told me that antibiotics after a BA are A MUST or else they will not perform surgery. So are antibiotics this really A MUST??????

Doctor Answers 17

Antibiotics after breast augmentation surgery

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1 dose of intravenous antibiotics in the immediate preoperative period has been shown to be effective prophylactic therapy during breast augmentation.  That said most plastic surgeons also continue oral antibiotics for a few days after surgery but there is little slant typically evidenced to document this need.  Of course you must follow the instructions of the plastic surgeon that you choose.

Antibiotics and breast augmentation

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Let's say you had a breast augmentation without antibiotics and got an infection postoperatively. There are plenty of ambulance chasing attorneys who would be happy to sue the surgeon for malpractice. 
The science on antibiotics is that they have to be in your bloodstream before the actual surgery in order to be effective but that continuing them beyond 24 hours after the surgery is not effective (for "clean" procedures like breast augmentation). 
Therefore, the medical standard is to give you broad spectrum antibiotics that you are not allergic to, intravenously, before the surgery and discontinue them beyond 24 hours. There are antibiotics that can do this in one dose before the surgery and have minimal risks of any effects on your system.
Why fight medical experience and standard practice? 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation and antibiotics

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Normally a single dos of antibiotics at the time of surgery is sufficient. I normally don't prescribe post op antibiotics as a general rule. You should discuss your concerns with your surgeon.

Jon E. Rast, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Are Antibiotics Necessary after Breast Augmentation

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Scientific publications indicate that intravenous antibiotics on the day of surgery are likely sufficient. Many plastic surgeons, including myself, prescribe oral antibiotics in addition as an extra precaution, but most evidence suggests that it's not truly necessary. If you're very opposed to taking medications, it would be reasonable to give you intravenous antibiotics and use antibiotic irrigation at surgery, without oral antibiotics afterwards. My office is in Orange, adjacent to St. Joseph Hospital, and I can certainly meet with you if you'd like to discuss this further. Good luck!

Andres Taleisnik, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Antibiotics after Surgery?

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Dear lovingmefirst,
thank you for your post.  There are many studies in a variety of surgery literature where antibiotics are used with an implant of many types, including orthopedic implants where antibiotic usage for 3 doses after surgery decreases rate of infection.  We as surgeons can never force anyone to do anything, as patients can do anything they want when they are at home.  Therefore, I advise patients to take their post-operative antibiotics and give them the risks of not taking them.  Ultimately, however, it is the patient that chooses to take them or not.
Best wishes, 
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Antibiotics after BA

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There is actually no good scientific data supporting post-operative antibiotics after a breast augmentation, however you will find that many surgeons ask their patients to take them. If you were my patient I would tell you that it is your decision and is not required.

Mary Gingrass, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Do I really have to take antibiotics after breast augmentation?

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There is good evidence that antibiotics at the time of surgery are helpful. There is no evidence that antibiotics without an obvious infection, are of any benefit after the procedure. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Do I really have to take antibiotics after breast augmentation?

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Thank you for the question.

Although you will find differing opinions on the necessity/efficacy of antibiotics taken after breast augmentation,  I know of no scientific basis/study  that documents a  decrease incidence  of infection or encapsulation or any other problem associated with breast implants. In our practice, for straight forward breast augmentation surgery, we use a single dose of intravenous antibiotics prior to surgery;  no antibiotics are used afterwards. Ultimately, it will be important for you to select your plastic surgeon and follow his/her instructions precisely. Best wishes.



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Different surgeons have different protocols and you should certainly follow the instructions of your particular surgeon.  However, it has been pretty well accepted that you need one done of intravenous antibiotics during surgery, but do not need oral antibiotics afterwards.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Antibiotics have no effect on the development of infection with breast augmentation.

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There is no scientific reason to use Antibiotics for breast augmentation even though almost all US surgeons do. Follow the advice of your 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.