Underarm incision post BA infected? (photo)

I am 2 weeks post op (breast augmentation) and one of my incisions suddenly looks very red. I am very worried. Is it infected?

Doctor Answers 13


The redness seems to be limited to the incision skin only.  Most likely this is just reactive erythema after the suturing.  It does not look like an infection that you need to be worried about.  If you are concerned, contact your plastic surgeon's office to be seen in person.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 457 reviews

Axillary redness after BA

If you had an incision in you axilla (armpit), presumably this is because this is the incision through which  your surgeon placed the implant?  Owing to the surgical approach, you will have a  higher risk of infection and capsular contracture. Based on the photos, however, it is hard to see if this is the case. At two weeks, the incisional redness could just be the appearance of normal healing. If the incision is red, warm, tender, and/or has drainage, then those could all be signs of a postoperative infection.  You should be seen in office to rule out an infection.

Jon Ver Halen, MD
Southlake Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Red breast after augmentation

Worrisome signs of an infection are new or worsening redness, increased pain, drainage that smells bad or is thick and fever. Close follow up with your board certified plastic surgery is important. Redness can also be a normal process of wound healing and scar formation. Best, MMT

Marissa Tenenbaum, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Your incision looks inflamed at the least, and it could be due to infection

At two weeks postop we usually expect surgical wounds to be well on the way to healing.  One of the problems with incisions in the axillae, or armpits, is that they stay moist and can get "soupy," because the skin is constantly together trapping moisture.  Sometimes it helps to simply place a small pad of dry gauze folded up against the incision just to keep the skin surfaces from contacting each other and to allow some air to circulate.  Sometimes we see redness like this just because the tissues are inflamed and irritated, but it's always better to err on the side of being conservative and aggressive and assume that there may be some infection there too, given all of the moisture allowing skin bacteria to grow.  For this reason it will be best if you contact your own surgeon tomorrow and tell them what you see.  They will likely want to see you in the office for a personal evaluation and probably prescribe a short course of antibiotics.  You don't want to take any chances on getting brand new breast implants infected, so sooner rather than later to see your surgeon would be best.  Good luck.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Breast Augmentation/Breast Implants/Anatomic Gummy Bear Implants/ Silicone Implants/Breast Implant Revision

I appreciate your question.

Since there has been a change in your post op course, please contact your surgeon so he/she can examine you and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative breast surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Possible Infection

Redness can be a sign of infection, especially when accompanied by excessive warmth and discharge. I suggest you see your surgeon as soon as possible to have it checked out, just to be on the safe side. 

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Incision issue

The photos is a very limited view. If you have concerns that you feel it is very red, then I suggest that you see your surgeon.

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

Does this look infected?

Thanks for your question. Your incision does not looked infected. The scar looks immature and slightly raised. It should soften with time and flatten. Arm pit scars are slower to heal and remodel than scars in other areas of the body. It's not unusually for a scar to remain red and raised during the early scar remodeling process. Try to be patient. Scar massage is fine. Good luck!

John L. Clayton, MD, PhD, MPH
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Underarm incision post BA infected?

Transaxillary (armpit) incisions are associated with a higher risk of infections and higher risk of capsular contracture. Also you, can have numbness or persistent ingrown hairs which can be bothersome if you shave your armpits. You should be seen in office to rule out an infection, as the picture you uploaded does appear red and slightly inflamed. Best of Luck.

Evan Feldman, MD, FACS
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Underarm incision post BA infected?

It is impossible to tell just from looking at a photo. You need to follow up with you surgeon if you have any concerns about infection. 

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.