Breast Implant Infection | MicroGen Diagnostics

Breast Implant Infection

A bacterial infection can happen with any breast implant, regardless of whether it is saline or silicone, or if implantation was done to increase breast size (augmentation) or for reconstruction after breast cancer surgery or because of injury to the breast. Infection can occur during or immediately after implantation (10-14 days after an operation), or at any point after recovery – that is, three months after surgery or at any point after that, even years later. If you have symptoms such as fever, swelling or discharge from the breast after surgery, it is important to notify your doctor immediately to determine which bacteria are causing the infection and which antibiotics can best treat it.

Capsular contraction is another potential complication of breast implantation. It happens when hard, dense scar tissue forms around the implant, creating a tissue capsule that tightens around and squeezes the implant. There are several possible causes, but a common one is a bacterial infection that occurs when a thin layer of bacteria (called biofilm) enters the body during implantation.

Studies suggest that up to 2.5% of breast implantations result in infection, and between 25% and 45% of implantations may result in capsular contraction.

Breast Implant Infection and Capsular Contraction Symptoms

Common symptoms of breast implant infection include:

  • Breast pain
  • Fever
  • Redness and/or swelling
  • Discharge coming from the wound

Common symptoms of capsular contraction include:

  • Misshapen breast
  • Breast pain
  • High-riding breast
  • Overly firm breast

MicroGenDX Tests Can Diagnose Breast Implant Infection

You will need a laboratory test that your doctor can order to determine the cause of your infection, and sometimes the cause of the infection might be difficult to identify. An evaluation and culture (growing microbes from your sample in a lab) are often used to diagnose infections. However, standard cultures might come back negative even when you actually do have an infection, and that means your infection won’t be treated. Instead of relying on culture, a MicroGenDX test detects the DNA of all microbes in your sample along with how much of each microbe is present. MicroGenDX then uses that information to determine the drugs that can best treat the infection.

It is important to know that not all antibiotics work for all bacteria, and some even work differently in different areas of the body. Your doctor should consult the "antimicrobials for consideration" chart on your MicroGenDX report to decide what antibiotic is right for you.

To get complete instructions, you can order an Explant Breast Evaluation Test Service test here:

Providing Samples for MicroGenDX Tests

Getting a good sample is important in the diagnosis of breast implant infection. To collect a sample, your doctor will use sterile swabs or fluid.

Everything your doctor needs to know about how breast implant infection samples are taken is included with the Explant Breast Evaluation Test Service. It’s always important to obtain a proper sample by following the instructions for collecting the sample, as well as when packaging and shipping it.

Medical Specialties Treating a Breast Implant Infection and Capsular Contraction

A plastic surgeon can treat a breast implant infection and/or capsular contraction, sometimes in consultation with an infectious disease specialist.

How a Breast Implant Infection and Capsular Contraction are Treated

A breast implant infection is treated with the appropriate antibiotic. If antibiotics alone don’t clear the infection, your surgeon may need to clean out the infected (debridement) tissue and replace the implant.

Generally, treating capsular contraction involves removal of the implant along with treatment of any infection. It is important to complete the full course of medication as it is prescribed, even when symptoms begin to clear up. This is to ensure that your infection has been completely treated, and also to avoid the development of resistance to any of the prescribed antibiotics.

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