Are You at Risk for Infection Post-Surgery?

With any surgery, an infection can occur. Generally, infections usually make themselves known within a few days to a few weeks following surgery, however, it is possible for them to occur at any time after surgery.

Typically, symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Inflammation (redness)
Thankfully, most infections can be treated with antibiotics. However, if the infection does not respond to the antibiotics, the breast implant(s) may have to be removed, until the infection has completely cleared. The time frame on re-implantation can range from a few weeks to several months, depending upon the severity of the infection.

If you develop a fever of 101 or higher, consult with your surgeon immediately. There have been cases of infection in which there was NO fever. If you have one or more of the symptoms listed above, with or without fever, please get in touch with your physician.
In very rare cases, severe infections can result in Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Virtually all plastic surgeons prescribe antibiotics, which are taken for several days after the surgery. Antibiotics are also usually given via IV drip, during your surgery.

Infections, especially serious infections, are not very common after breast augmentation surgery.

A Few Tips

  • Don't soak in the bathtub or hot tub until your incisions are completely closed. Waiting two weeks is usually a good time frame, but be sure to get your surgeon's approval first.
  • Do not go swimming. You probably won't want to anyway, especially if your implants were placed under the muscle. Again, two weeks is amount of time, but again, be sure to get your surgeon's approval.
  • Avoid touching your incision. Bacteria from your hands could get on/in the incision and possibly cause an infection. If your surgeon asks you to apply any type of ointment, ask him/her if it would be okay to use a clean, sterile Q-Tip to do so.
  • Many women complain of their breasts itching after surgery. This is usually due to the skin stretching. Using a lotion or moisturizer often helps relieve the itching. However, apply lotion with caution, as you do not want to get it on/in your incision.
  • If your incisions are you in your armpit, avoid using deodorant on the incision until it has completely closed. Ask your surgeon if you can keep the steri-strips on your incision until they fall of by themselves. By doing this, you can still wear deodorant, but you won't run the risk of getting it on your incision.
  • Always check with your plastic surgeon and follow his/her advice. The tips above should not be used as medical advice. They are generalizations and should be used as a point of reference only.

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