Breast Implant Infection Symptoms

Sadly the breast unlike the rest of our body does not have an immune system. So when antibodies are delivered by the immune system to fight against infections, they are not effective in the breasts. Why? Because the antibodies do not get to the breast and the breast does not have any ability to fight against infection by itself. It is for this reason that implants are prone to infection.

Doctor showing breast implants to the patient

There are different reasons why people choose to have implants. It could be to increase the size, shape, or contour of the breasts or to alter their body shape. Whatever the reason may be it is important that you understand fully what complications can arise from such a procedure. There are a few complications that could arise and one of them happens to be breast implant infection. It is safe that you know the breast implant infection symptoms so that you would be able to recognize it if you have an implant infection. To help you out, we’ll be looking at the symptoms that come with an implant infection.  

So let’s look at how it all goes down when a breast implant is being done. The first thing is that the person is given anesthesia. And this is obviously to make the muscles numb so that the person wouldn’t feel any form of pain. We all know that opening up the human body is not a child’s play, it has to be carried out with great caution and skill. And just like any other surgery, sometimes things do not go as planned and certain complications such as an infected implant sets in.

How Can A Breast Implant Get Infected?

Your body is not used to the silicone implants that are introduced to it during this surgical procedure, that’s because the body recognizes them as foreign. 

Normally the immune system functions as our body’s natural defense agent and part of its work are to deliver antibodies throughout the body. These antibodies help to fight infections. And since these implants are foreign to your immune system they do not receive any antibodies. In fact, the antibodies stop at the surface of the implants.

Sadly the breast unlike the rest of our body does not have an immune system. So when antibodies are delivered by the immune system to fight against infections, they are not effective in the breasts. Why? Because the antibodies do not get to the breast and the breast does not have any ability to fight against infection by itself. It is for this reason that implants are prone to infection.

Before we learn about breast implant infection symptoms let’s take a look at the possible causes of these infections:

1. When breast wounds are contaminated

For all surgical procedures, wounds would always arise. You sure don’t expect that after a knife is used to cut your skin there would be no tell-tale wounds. So in breast implants wounds are bound to happen. 

However, in the recovery days or weeks following breast implant surgery, certain microorganisms can contaminate the wound caused by the surgery. And this would lead to an infection. 

More often than not an antibiotic is administered to kill off these unwelcome microorganisms.

2. When the surgical tools have allergens.

It is advisable that when you decide to go under the knife you choose your hospital wisely. There have been sad reports of avoidable complications that arose due to the unsafe surgical tools being used on patients. 

Iodine solution or talc can act as allergens and may be found in some surgical tools such as surgical gloves. These allergens have been known to cause infections.

3. When there are infections in your blood

Implants do not stay forever, they are usually taken away after a specified period of time. In fact, those who undergo this procedure are always advised to go for periodical check-ups. This is absolutely necessary as implants are more likely to get infected the longer it stays. The cause of this may be bacterial or fungal infections distributed by your blood from other areas of the body.

On rare occasions, it is possible that cell lymphoma, a cancer of the blood lymphocytes, spreads to the implants infecting the surrounding scar tissue.

4. Piercing or tattooing the surgical area

It is totally unwise to pierce or draw a tattoo on an area where surgery was carried out. You have the rest of your skin, why choose that same spot? This is a very avoidable cause of infection. The tools used in piercing or tattooing if unsterilized can easily lead to infection. It is best to totally avoid these procedures if you are getting implants but if you must do it then ensure that only the cleanest tools are used.

Breast Implant Infection: What Are The Symptoms?

Having seen the different causes of this infection now we will discuss breast implant infection symptoms. How can you tell that your implants have gotten infected?

High fever

When your body temperature begins to rise following an implant surgery then it could be that the implants have been infected.

Erythema and swelling

Erythema is a medical term used to describe the redness of the skin. If after surgery you discover that the skin of your breasts is turning red or that your breast appears swollen then you need to report back to your surgeon as it is very likely that an infection has set in.

Breast pain

Breast pain after an implant is usually a normal post-surgery side effect. But it is advisable to check with your surgeon, especially if the pain persists for a while as that could mean that the tissues surrounding the implant have gotten infected.

Discharge

This is a rare but possible symptom of a breast implant infection. It is when a watery discharge begins to come out of your nipples, please see your surgeon as soon as you notice this.

Toxic shock syndrome

This is a life-threatening breast implant infection symptom. It is caused by toxins released from an overgrowth of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus which is commonly found in women’s bodies. A person with this syndrome will experience low blood pressure, a sudden high fever, muscle ache, redness of eyes, mouth or throat, and seizures.

What’s Next for You? 

More often than not breast implant infections are treated with antibiotics. In severe cases, the implants would have to be removed. Women who decide to undergo this surgery should take out time to educate themselves on the possible risks and complications of this procedure as an infected breast implant is just one amongst many complications.

Now that you know about these breast implant infection symptoms, it would do you good to research on other complications and their accompanying symptoms. It is always good to make a well-informed decision so that you are mentally and emotionally prepared for whatever comes as a result of that decision.

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