How to Recognize Infection Symptoms After Breast Augmentation?

HI, I got a breast augmentation 1 month ago and my right breast is still red on the top and kinda tender (more than the other one). I don't have a fever. My doctor has already had me on 2 courses of different antibiotics but I don't know if I have an infection...

How can I detect if this is an infection or just normal recovery from the breast implants? Thanks

Doctor Answers 37

Redness after breast Augmentation

Redness can be a sign of infection or inflammation. Your board certified surgeon is best able to answer this question for you. It is extremely important for safe healing that you contact him or her with any changes.

Boynton Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Worried about redness after breast augmentation

If you have had follow up with your surgeon then I suggest you follow his/her recommendations. Although it is good to keep your wits about you and maintain common sense, keep in mind that post-operative management requires specialized training and that is why it is important to follow up with your surgeon - that's why we're in school for so long!

Bryan Correa, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Inflammation, fluid or infection

You should be in close contact with your surgeon.  Sometimes, a seroma (fluid collection) can create an inflammatory condition that improves with surgery to change out the implant and wash out the space.  I've had to do this once in 15 years on a breast augmentation patient.  Your surgeon can best determine if you need this or antibiotics or neither.  Inflammation may increase your risk of capsular contracture so you should stay in close contact with your surgeon. 

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

Redness after breast implants

Redness and tenderness can be a signs of infection or inflammation with or without fluid collection. Your surgeon is best able to answer this question for you - you should be seeing your surgeon regularly until your symptoms have resolved entirely. It is very important that you contact him or her with any changes (increased redness, pain, fever). Best of luck.

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews


If your surgeon has seen you, then he or she has taken a history and done an exam to arrive at a conclusion.   The post procedure skin changes tightness, swelling, and tenderness will not usually be soft and stable until after 3 months. 

Peter J. Capizzi, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Next Steps: Lab Work and Ultrasound

Thank you for your question. It sounds like your surgeon is doing the right things in terms of putting you on antibiotics. The next step to determine if you have an infection would be to have some lab work done and an ultrasound performed to see if you have a fluid collection. But, go with what your surgeon advices; he knows the details of your case.

Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Possible infection

Your surgeon would know if you have an infection, and it seems that they've already started your treatment to resolve the issue. The redness and tenderness can both be signs of infection, even without fever. However, they may also just be the normal signs of recovery. Please follow your surgeon's instructions because they know your situation better than us.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Redness and Tenderness after Breast Augmentation

Inflammation, redness and tenderness or pain, with or without fluid accumulation, can be a sign of a post-operative infection.  With that said, I am happy to hear that you have been following up regularly with your operating surgeon as infections are best diagnosed in clinical follow up as not every infection is associated with a corresponding fever.  If the antibiotics are not helping after two courses on different antibiotics, I would strongly recommend following up again with your operating surgeon for further workup.  It is possible that your surgeon may order some blood work to check for infection markers, such as elevated white blood cell counts, but at this time regular follow up is important until your symptoms have resolved.  Best of luck.

Stephen T. Greenberg, MD
Woodbury Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Recognizing breast infection

Thank you for your question. Clinical assessment is usually the best way to detemine if you have an infection. Your surgeon can also order labs to see if there are any inflammatory markers such as elevated white blood count that may help when the clinical assessment is ambiguous. I would continue to follow closely with your surgeon.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Redness after Breast Augmentation

 Any redness and tenderness can be a signs of infection or inflammation with or without fluid collection. I am glad that you have been in contact with your surgeon, follow his instructions and keep the activity down to a minimum. Stay in contact with your surgeon until the issue has resolved itself.  Good Luck

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 144 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.