Can an Small Abscess Clear out on Its Own with Removing Implants?

I got breast implants 7 mos ago & have been diagnosed w/an abscess in my L breast.There's no fever,blood tests are healthy, culture sample showed no growth, & no pain.All I have is an open sore w/some pus, near incision .The abscess is small & its not an emergency, but is it possible that this can clear out on its own & the implants can be salvaged?Any cases out there where alternative treatment was sought w/positive results.Can I really have no other options?One surgery was traumatic enough.

Update: 4/17/12

Unfortunately the abscess is deep & has reached the implant. I've since seen a surgeon who's willing to remove the implant then replace it with a new implant & insert a drainage catheter. He has warned me of the likelihood that the infection would return with this method. Has anyone seen a high success rate with this option rather than the 2 additional surgeries that remove the implant and wait 6 months before re-implantation?

Doctor Answers 9

Breast Implants and Infections.


We are all unable to diagnose whether your implant is involved in some infectious process or not, and you need to be seen by your surgeon. Small infections near the incision does not indicate involvement with your implant, but could spread if not treated quickly.

If a breast implant is involved in an infectious process, there are no antibiotics that will clear the infection, and it will continue to cause considerable damage to your surrounding tissues if not surgically removed.

Please see your surgeon immediately so that this is taken care of appropriately.

Best of luck.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Infections after breast augmentation

Superficial wound infections occur in about 1% of patients after breast augmentation.  These are usually treated with antibiotics and drainage if there is a fluid collection (abscess).  Fortunately, deeper infections that involve the implant are much less common.  Infections of this nature usually require removal of one or both of the implants.  Without an exam it is impossible to say which type of infection you have.  From the information you provided your infection certainly sounds more superficial in nature. 

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Abscess after Breast Augmentation?

Thank you for the question.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to give you good advice with online consultation. Much of what will be necessary will depend on the specific location of the abscess and the clinical judgment of your plastic surgeon. For example, if the abscess is superficial than it is very likely that the breast implants will not be involved.

Most importantly, close follow-up with your plastic surgeon is necessary. Again, it will be his/her clinical judgment (is based on physical examination and experience) which course of action will be necessary.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Breast implants and abscess

If you are referring to a superficial skin abscess, then it is probably not likely that you would lose your implant. If the infection is deep and surrounding the implant, then there is a good chance that you will lose it.  Hard to say without an evaluation.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast implant and abscess

Once there is an abscess, I agree with Dr Sorokin that the primary focus must be on treating it, quickly and conclusively. Salvaging the implant is of secondary importance because the abscess can have systemic consequences. You should be seeing your plastic surgeon and following his recommendations.

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

Breast implant infections can be very difficult to treat

An abscess in the breast after breast implantation can be very difficult to treat and can have irreversible consequences.  When treated aggressively implants can be salvaged however this is not a situation to play around with.  This is one of the few emergency situations in breast implant surgery and your surgeon needs to stay on top of it.  Hopefully you are having very close followup and discussing all options.  Antibiotics, drainage, and very close follow up with your surgeon are important so make sure that you speak to your surgeon immediately.  

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Abscess and implants

I think it depends on where the abscess is.  If it is a tiny suture abscess that is just part of the dissolving suture along the line of the incision then you may be able to treat it with local, conservative care.  That would be unusual after 7 months, however.  If you have an abscess in communication with the breast implant itself (your ps can easily determine which is the case) then I recommend a minor surgery to remove the implant and thoroughly irrigate the pocket with antibiotics.  This will prevent spread of the infection as well as possible capsular contracture (hardening of the tissue around the implant) in the future.  If you have frank pus around the implant then it may not be salvageable.  If the pocket looks clean as well as the implant then you may be able to save it- this is your plastic surgeon's call.  Good luck!

Tiffany McCormack, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

An abscess needs to be drained, quickly, before the implant becomes infected

It is possible that your abscess not inside the breast pocket (space where the implant sits)?  If that is the case, you need to have it treated surgically immediately (drained) so that the infection does not spread deeper into the space where the implant sits.

If the infection spreads and involves the implant, it is still possible to salvage it but the risk of implant loss is much much more significant and most likely even if your implant is saved, you will have problems with capsular contracture.

See your plastic surgeon immediately.


Martin Jugenburg, MD, FRCSC

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 457 reviews

Abscess with breast implants

The answer to this question all depends on whether or not the abscess is confined to the skin and subcutaneous tissue or if it has become involved with the implant pocket. Localized infections of the skin and subcutaneous tissue can be treated with antibiotics without necessarily having to remove the implants. An ultrasound study can determine if there is a periprosthetic fluid collection. Once there is evidence that the implant has become contaminated, most plastic surgeons would recommend at least removal and formal washout of the implant pocket.  

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 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.