Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 905–909 | Cite as

Surgeons’ Dilemma: Treatment of Implant-Associated Infection in the Cosmetic Breast Augmentation Patient

  • Vasileios VasilakisEmail author
  • Feras Yamin
  • Richard G. Reish
Original Article Breast Surgery



Augmentation mammaplasty is the most common plastic surgical procedure performed in the USA. The management of severe implant-associated infection is a challenge, and the traditional two-stage treatment is associated with significant limitations. The aim of this literature review is to provide a comprehensive analysis of all studies dealing with the management of severe infection or implant exposure following cosmetic breast augmentation.


The PubMed and Cochrane databases were searched through February 2018 for studies on the management of severe infection and threatened or actual implant exposure following primary augmentation mammaplasty. Search terms used were “breast implant,” “breast prosthesis,” “breast augmentation,” “breast augmentation complications,” “infected implant,” “implant salvage” and “implant exposure.”


Five articles met inclusion criteria. There was inconsistency in the reporting of several key factors, such as the antibiotic regimens employed, culture sensitivities, time from diagnosis to treatment, implant characteristics, as well as the precise treatment of the capsule and pocket. A total of 58 implants were treated, of which 37 (63.8%) were exposed in the setting of infection and 21 (36.2%) were infected without exposure. One-stage implant salvage was employed in 31 implants and was successful in all. The capsular contracture rate with this approach was 6.5%. Antibiotic-alone, non-operative treatment was employed in the salvage of 22 implants, with success and capsular contracture rates of 77.3 and 13.6%, respectively. In the setting of severe periprosthetic infection in the absence of implant exposure, antibiotic-alone treatment was successful in the salvage of 13 out of 14 implants (92.9%).


The inconsistency and paucity of the data in the literature preclude definitive conclusions with regard to the optimal management of the threatened implant following augmentation mammaplasty. Given the excellent salvage rates in this setting, a more prominent role and liberal utilization of implant salvage are proposed.

Level of Evidence IV

This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors


Breast augmentation Implant salvage Implant-associated infection Literature review 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose. None of the authors has a financial interest in any of the products, devices, or drugs mentioned in this manuscript.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

For this type of study informed consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryLong Island Plastic Surgical GroupGarden CityUSA
  2. 2.Division of Plastic and Reconstructive SurgeryNassau University Medical CenterEast MeadowUSA

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