How One Woman Developed Salmonella in Her Breast Implant

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There are quite a few risks associated with getting breast implants (i.e. infection, loss of breast sensation or development of scar tissue, etc.) but contracting salmonella within the implant itself is certainly not a risk we were aware of—until now. It turns out, this condition is entirely possible, and one American woman is living proof. After traveling to Mexico five months after undergoing breast augmentation, a 34-year-old woman developed salmonella in her right breast, which went undiagnosed for quite some time.

According to the JPRAS Open case report, the patient was healthy before vacationing in Cancun where she developed abdominal pain and diarrhea. As time went on, the woman experienced fever and chills which continued after returning to the U.S. While the original symptoms eventually subsided, the woman then began to have pain in her right breast along with swelling and tenderness.

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After going to the doctor, a “small amount of homogeneous fluid” was noted surrounding her right implant during an ultrasound, the report claims. After antibiotics didn’t help the pain, the patient “was taken to the operating room where the abscess was incised, drained and the implant removed,” the authors of the report reveal. “Cultures grew Salmonella serogroup C.”

Thankfully, the patient—who is believed to be the first documented case of breast implant infection following a case of traveler’s diarrhea, according to the New York Postis recovering well and was given antibiotics to prevent further infection. She's also been instructed to wait four months before replacing the implant to reduce the risk of another infection occurring. 

Per the authors, this rare case is a good reminder that doctors should make breast augmentation patients aware of the possibility that bacteria can enter the bloodstream in the breast cavity and implant following a severe illness—even though the risk of this is still very low. “Our patient may have been able to avoid systemic illness (and potentially her breast implant infection) if she would have taken antibiotics earlier in the disease course when they were already otherwise indicated,” they noted. 

We’ve reached out to a doctor for a second opinion on this case and will update this post once we hear back.

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