What Are Symptoms of Bacterial Infection on Breast Implants?

I had textured saline implants put in about 20 months ago. The implant shifted and I went back to surgery 5 days later, experiencing fever, chills, severe pain.

The surgeon did not use a new implant and tried to salvage the implant which I thought they were supposed to replace with a new implant. Anyhow I have been nothing but sick since then. I now feel a strange sensation and I just feel ill as if something isn't right on the one breast.

Is it possible that there could be bacteria in my implant and how would I know or since I'm allergic to many things could I be allergic to the shell?

Doctor Answers 10


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Unfortunately, without a complete history and physical exam and through pre operative photography there is not enough information to make an informed plan, please consult your surgeon or another local board certified plastic surgeon

Probably not allergic

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Silicone implants are inert as far as allergic or biochemical reactions are concerned. Howver, things used in surgery such as iodine solutions or talc from powdered gloves or antibiotic solutions can be allergenic. There might have been no indication to change the implants if the only problem was a dislocation from its capsule and no sign of infection. Often surgeons will take a culture just to be sure especially if there is cloudy fluid around the implant. Infection of impants usually declare itself with pain, tenderness, fever, swelling, and possibly redness. If you have none of these signs or symptoms and your textured implant is function as intended (i.e. the soft tissues have attached themselves and the implant is not dislodged and free-floating) then you probably do not have an infection.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Clinical assessment is necessary

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Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, without clinical assessment is is very difficult to determine whether or not you have an infection related to your prior surgeries.  I would recommend following up with your operating surgeon to discuss your concerns, for a clinical exam and potentially to order some lab work if deemed necessary.  I hope this helps and best of luck!

Recognizing breast infection

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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.

Breast Implant Infections

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Your history suggests that you’ve had problems since your original surgical procedure two years ago. At that time you developed an infection that resulted in fevers, chills, and purulent drainage. This apparently resolved with time, but you continue to have a generalized illness and the right implant doesn’t feel normal.
It’s difficult to determine the cause of your current problems without a more detailed history, and physical examination. However, it’s safe to say that bacterial growth within the implant and implant allergies probably aren’t factors.
Based on the available information you may have a sub clinical right breast pocket infection. This condition is often accompanied by the development of capsular contractures. This may explain why the right breast feels different than the left breast. Treatment of this condition requires antibiotics but may also require removal of your right breast implant as well.
For these reasons, it’s important to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses these issues.

Breast Augmentation Infection

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I would recommend returning to the surgeon and explaining to them your symptoms. Your surgeon should conduct a physical examination and testing to determine the cause of your concern. Best of luck. 

Bacterial infection symptoms are pain, tenderness, swelling, and redness. There may also be pus. 

Bacterial infection and implants

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The actual symptoms may vary quite a bit from a breast implant infection, but in general patients can experience pain, fever, chills, redness over the breast, and even drainage.

Possible for you to have bacterial infection on breast implants

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You could have an implant infection. Implant infections vary regarding how they manifest themselves. Some patients have red, hot, swollen wounds and breasts. Other patients get contracture (hardening) that may come up quickly over the first few months.

This does not sound like an allergy problem. Your surgeon should be steering the direction of the inquiry figuring based upon examination and/or testing whether or not the implant might be infected. This is not always easy.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

An infected implant would be red, hot and angry

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Pain, fever, chills, and redness of the entire breast are the signs of infection of a breast implant. If you develop these symptoms then you need to contact your plastic surgeon immediately. If the implant is infected no antibiotic will improve the condition and the implant must be removed. If you only have segmental pain and redness cellulits or mastitis is a possibility and this can be treated with antibiotics. I would not suspect any allergic reactions to a silicone implant or implant shell. .

Bacterial infection of Breast Implants

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Bacterial infection of breast implants is very serious and usually causes noticeable symptoms.

Typically you are acutely ill. The skin overlying your implants usually will become pink, warm and red, and you would have fever and chills.

"Subclinical", that is infection without symptoms certainly can occur and is believed to be a cause of capsular contracture.

See your doctor and get an opinion.

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.