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Breast Implant Infection and Explant Surgery

| November 15, 2019 August 2, 2023 | |

beast implant infection and explant surgeryI had the pleasure some months ago to speak to WLWT Cincinnati about the importance of breast implant removal, or explant surgery, to address infections or other associated issues. A lot of women who experience these complications seem to have an extremely difficult time finding a surgeon willing and able to perform the surgery.

It Isn’t Common Knowledge

According to my patients, their original surgeons are very rarely willing to perform explants for different reasons. I have heard stories of patients being told they were in perfect health despite the chronic pain they were experiencing; others had their surgeons offer to replace or resize their implants.

Believe it or not, these incidents are not done for wholly negative reasons. Explant surgeries are just something that has only entered mainstream recognition recently, and my fellow physicians are just beginning to pick it up. We are creatures of knowledge and are determined not to perform unfamiliar procedures without learning as much of it as possible.

A Rising Awareness

Breast Implant infections are not new, per se, but only recently have they been recognized as a very real condition. Previously we’d prescribe the usual – painkillers, topical creams, or antihistamines. This practice is now being corrected to identifying the root cause of the condition: either the silicone in the implants or the surrounding scar tissue or capsule.

Silicone allergy is the common cause for rashes, hives or other skin blemishes that appear on or around the chest after getting an implant. These can manifest hours, days, or weeks after the surgery. Even saline implants utilize a silicone shell, so draining them of fluid will ultimately make no difference.

Capsules, meanwhile, are scar tissue that forms around the implant over time. While small amounts of scarring are normal, a large number of results in capsular contracture, as the body struggles to contain the foreign substance away from its natural parts. Often hard and painful, capsules need to be removed to alleviate any aesthetic and functional issues. Complete removal of the implant ensures no future scarring will manifest.

Breast Implant Complications Can Be Severe

As I mentioned in my interview, the symptoms for either of the causes above can extend beyond normal expectations. I have had cases of whole-body rashes, inflamed breasts, or fevers and influenza that can all be traced to an infected breast implant. It is imperative to return to your original surgeon when any complications appear.

Even then, actual diagnosis can be tricky, and finding a surgeon willing to perform explant surgery is even trickier. No matter their stance on the actual surgery, however, a good doctor will be willing to give advice. Which is why…

Getting a Board-certified Plastic Surgeon is Half the Battle

A rather big reason behind the spike of explant surgery requests is the lack of pre-surgery testing for how a patient’s body will react to implants. However, obtaining the services of a board-certified plastic surgeon guarantees excellent results and support for revision surgeries. Explant surgeries are expected to be more immediately supported in the near future, another advantage of a board-certified surgeon.


About the Author

Dr. Pankaj Tiwari, is a board-certified plastic surgeon who focuses on breast reconstruction with advanced microsurgical techniques (DIEP and GAP flaps) and the treatment of lymphedema.
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*Our blog entries are written in order to further educate our patients and raise awareness towards topics related to plastic surgery. Any solutions offered on this blog are intended to help possible patients develop educated decisions before undergoing a consultation with our doctors.

One thought on “Breast Implant Infection and Explant Surgery”

  • Connie Caron

    I have had Surgitk Polyurethane Textured Silicone Implants in 1988 was having health issues for years in 2003 I found out they were ruptured by B-MRI had InaMed McGhan style 468 Textured saline implants to replace the first set of ruptured implants. Now having swelling in left breast. Had Ultrasound found masses and distortion Axillary lymph nodes are enlarged right 22x14x20mm, left measures 18x11x15mm, had B-MRI 03-24-2020 was told I was they’re 1st Patient ever with breast implants to do the Breast MRI. I have both Disc’s for my own recordsalso a copy disc of a mammogram from 2013, my Plastic Surgeon is now retired Dr. Lawance Tarrant from Parkersburg WV.
    I have a patient # with MD Anderson Cancer Center was told to send my Ultrasound & B-MRI to them for evaluation with Dr.Clemons. I would be driving from WV to Houston 1,145 miles With the Covid19 I don’t think I can make the trip driving and not be able to be Covid19 free. I haven’t been out of my house but just for the B-MRI on 03-24-2020. Can you diagnose BIA-ALCL and do the Biopsy for CD30? I Do have lymph nodes that swell but not all of the time I have had skin rashes under both arm pits, palms of hands both breasts was given steroid injections, steroid pills, and steroid cream, for the rashes, night sweats, I have had chronic diarrhea with blood also a lot of nausea, Metal taste since last summer,Blurred vision, stomach pain with diarrhea, many more effects from BII.
    I have had Textured implants for 32 years my age is 57 26 years old when I first had the Surgitek Marco Polyurethane Textured Silicone Implants.
    The plastic surgeon here in Beckley WV dose not test for CD 30 told me it’s so rare you probably don’t need to worry. In Charleston WV I called the Plastic Surgeon’s and they do not have knowledge of BIA-ALCL or test fluid for CD 30. WVU Breast Cancer Center told me when I called for information on this problem I’am having they have never had a patient with this issue. Just looking for relief it is so uncomfortable to wear my bra my left breast in hurting where I have the swelling. I don’t know if your are even doing appointments during this Covid19 pandemic. My cell # is 304-575-1519. I did grow up 4 miles East of New Albany Ohio so I’am. Dry familiar with Columbus also surrounding areas. Thank you Have a safe & Good day. Connie