Overall, whether the shape is round or teardrop breast implants, the probability of breast augmentation infection occurring is quite low. Indeed, estimates suggest between 1.1% and 2.5% of breast augmentation patients are affected in this way. In the majority of these cases, the infection occurs shortly after surgery during the postoperative window. However, an infection can also develop many years after surgery and may indeed prove more serious in such instances.
There are a number of symptoms which could point towards the presence of an infection. These symptoms include;
Sources of Infection
In truth, it’s extremely difficult to precisely pinpoint the origin of infectious contamination. That said, with respect to breast infections which develop within the immediate postoperative window, potential sources, include;
- A contaminated implant
- The surgical environment
- The patient’s mammary ducts
- Remote infection sites
In cases where the onset of symptoms is delayed, the underlying infection may have arisen due to secondary bacteraemia or as a result of an invasive procedure performed elsewhere on the body.
At this point, it’s worth noting that in some cases implant design may play be implicated in the spread of infection. It has been shown, for example, that textured implants provide the perfect habitat for bacteria to multiply. Moreover, if a contaminated saline implant ruptures, the resultant leakage could infect other parts of the body.
Typically, patients are initially treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, however, this measure seldom proves sufficient and as a result, in the majority of cases, it becomes necessary to surgically remove the implant. Following surgery, a patient will continue taking antibiotics, either orally or intravenously.
A new implant can be inserted if, after a lengthy recovery period of 3-6 months, the breast remains clear of infection.
How to Minimize Risk
Surgeons work to reduce the risk of infection by minimizing their handling of breast tissue and by administering prophylactic antibiotics. Following surgery, patients should closely monitor their breasts for any changes and stringently follow their surgeon’s aftercare instructions. If any changes that could signal breast augmentation infection are discovered, then professional advice should be sought immediately.