Staph Infection after Breast Augmentation?

I underwent Breast Augmentation a year ago. I was fine until i fell backwards while walking. My left breast swelled up, and it felt hot and painful. I went to the surgeon and he had to take the implant out to take a biopsy. He said it was staph infection. I don't understand, where could I have gotten it?

Doctor Answers 18

Infection after Implants Rare

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Sorry to hear of your injury.

Your description is suggestive of bleeding around the implant, from the fall.

It is possible for the hematoma (blood clot) to become infected.

Unfortunately, once an implant becomes infected, it must be removed.

Replacement should not be undertaken for at least 3 months after all signs of infection are clear.

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Breast Infection

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Tough call....Staph comes in many forms (Aureus, Epidermidis, etc.) but are most commonly from a skin source. Staph can also live in one's nose...Bacteria live everywhere and many times right along with us, until an event occurs (as dramatic as falling and scraping/cutting your knee skin....or even as unassuming as brushing your teeth : YES, every time you brush your teeth, you shower your blood stream with bacteria!), the bacteria can cause an infection.

I suggest to all my patients after surgery to make sure they clean even the most superficial injury sufficiently to prevent infections from becoming over whelming.

I hope this helps!

Dr. C

John Philip Connors III, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Breast swelling

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Your story is not typical. Perhaps you had suffered abrasions of your chest that made the chest swell. It is hard to know without examining you at the time of your injury or during yoru early follow-up. Staph infections, if they are just on the skin, can usually be treated with oral antibiotic. But if they are found in the breast capsule, then the implant rightfully should be removed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Long standing infections

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You've asked a complicated question. Usually infections of breast implants show up immediately. A year is usually enough time for your body to heal the incisions and form scar tissue around the implants which protects them somewhat.

However, it is possible to have implants get infected at any time - especially if there have been other procedures performed (including piercing, dental work or other surgeries).
Some plastic surgeons will recommend their patients take antibiotics before any procedure for the first year to lower the risk of the implants getting infected.

The good news is with time your body should clear the infection and the implant (if you choose) should be able to be replaced.

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

Infection year after surgery

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It sounds like your surgeon did the right thing in removing the affected implant. While it is rare to develop an infection at this point after your surgery, it is not unheard of. You may have had some bacteria present in your blood which was released at the time of your fall. This may have caused the infection . 

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Wait 3-4 Months To Replace

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Your history is confusing for a variety of reasons.It’s unusual for patients to develop infection one year after surgery unless something else is going on.In your case, I suspect that your infection is somehow related to the trauma that your breast experienced from your fall.
Trauma of any type can cause bleeding and this can result in hematoma formation.This is consistent with your sudden breast swelling.It’s not unusual for hematomas to become secondarily infected.
Regardless of the cause, infection around breast implants usually always requires implant removal.In most cases, implants can be replaced 3 to 4 months following eradication of infection

Infection after breast augmentation

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Hard to know what happended.  The story you describe is rare as infections occur early.  It would be helpful to have seen your breast photo after the fall.  There is a possibilty, although rare, to seed the implant with bacteria after it enters your body.  This is the reasoning some plastic surgeons recommend antibiotics before dental procedures and the same reason patients with prosthetic valves take antibiotics before procedures.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Infections are uncommon after breast augmentation.

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Infections are uncommon after breast augmentation.  Most infections are detected in the first weeks or months after augmentation, only rarely is an infection identified later.

It is difficult to say why your infection occurred so late after the surgery.  It is possible that your fall had something to do with creating a small amount of bleeding in the tissue around the implant and that you had some bacteria in that blood. (It is not uncommon to have small amounts of bacteria in our blood from things like brushing our teeth, minor wounds etc which are usually cleared from our blood very efficiently by our immune systems.)

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 298 reviews

Infections can occur at any time after breast augmentation

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Infection following breast augmentation is very rare. When infections do occur, they most commonly do so in the first two weeks after surgery. Delayed infections that occur, weeks, months or even years after surgery do occur, but are exceedingly rare. If you do suspect any type of breast infection after you have had breast augmentation, it needs to brought to your surgeon's attention immediately so that you can have the best chance of salvaging your implants.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Staph infection and breast implants

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This is a difficult question to answer in your situation. An infection of a breast implant a year after surgery is quite uncommon. The association with your fall is also unusual. When breast implant infections do occur, it is usually in the first few weeks after surgery. Once the capsule develops, the implant becomes essentially isolated from the body. It is possible to seed an implant through the bloodstream (for instance, after dental cleanings). If there was trauma to your breast from the fall, it is possible to have a cellulitis or infection within the soft tissue of the breast which could start from abrasions or a cut in the breast skin. However, this can often be treated with aggressive antibiotics without removing the implant. To answer your question, from the information provided it is very difficult to identify exactly how your implant became infected.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.