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 35

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!

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. 

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 137 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 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.

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.

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

Check back in with your surgeon

It sounds as if you’ve been in close contact with your plastic surgeon following your breast augmentation, which is a good start. However, if you still notice redness and tenderness in one breast only even after two rounds of antibiotics, I think it’s time to check back in with your surgeon. Not every infection will include a fever, so the fact that your temperature is normal doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that something else is wrong. Don’t be shy about following up with your plastic surgeon, as it’s his or her job to keep an eye on your health after your procedure.

Nirav Savalia, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Close follow-up is advised

Redness alone is not enough to make the diagnosis of an implant infection.  Sometimes the skin or the breast tissue can become inflamed.  If the implant is not involved, it can improve with antibiotics.  This may increase the risk of capsular contracture.  You need to have close follow up with the 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.