What is Pseudomonas and how does it relate to Breast Implants?

The word pseudomonas refers to a common bacteria found in soil, water and plants all over the world. It can also grow on human skin, most often found in more moist parts of the body such as the armpits or genital area. Pseudomonas can also be a breast implant associated infection, and unfortunately it can be a cause of surgical readmission after a breast implant surgery is infection. We spoke to Dr Justin Perron, Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon based in Brisbane, QLD to tell us more.

Dr Justin Perron
Dr Justin Perron

While pseudomonas is just one of a list of bacterial organisms that can cause infection relating to breast implants, it is one that can be difficult to eradicate. Pseudomonas is a type of bacteria that can secrete a matrix called a ‘biofilm’, in order to survive and protect itself. This biofilm can adhere to implants and prevent antibiotics from properly working. Once it is present on an implant, it can not be removed, and usually means the implant needs to be replaced.

Any breast implant infection should be treated seriously and there are several warning signs or symptoms that you should be aware of just in case you show any signs of them after a breast augmentation. These are:

  • Redness
  • Swelling (above and beyond what is normally expected after a breast augmentation)
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Body aches or pains
  • Fever
  • Breasts that are hot to the touch

You definitely shouldn’t freak out if you have any of these symptoms as many of them can be associated with the recovery process of a breast augmentation recovery. However, redness that does not go away, a change in pain, or discharge should prompt a phone call to your plastic surgeon.

Why does the infection occur and can you reduce your risk?

Many Australian surgeons prescribe antibiotics for their breast augmentation patients as part of their recovery to reduce any risk of infection. Sometimes these antibiotics do not cover ALL types of bacteria, and can mean that some infections can occur. In rare circumstances, especially with complicated or revisional surgery, the tissues may not have enough blood supply to normally block, or otherwise prevent infection from bacteria like pseudomonas. The best prevention is to ensure excellent nutrition, stop smoking before and after your operation (6-8 weeks on either side of the operation day), watch your incision areas and report any changes to your plastic surgeon.

What is the treatment for pseudomonas or any other breast implant infection?

You should contact your surgeon immediately if you suspect you may have any infection! There are a few treatments available, but usually antibiotics are often able to treat the issue. However in very rare cases you may require hospital admission and receive IV antibiotics, and in very, very, rare cases, you may need to have the implants removed.

In any case, if you have any doubts or concerns, you should always contact your surgeon in the first instance.

We’d like to thank Dr Perron for helping us provide accurate and the most up to date information on this subject. If you’d like more information on Dr Justin Perron check out the blogs below or to arrange a consult phone his clinic on (07) 3861 8800. You might also want to check out the podcast I did with Dr Perron on patient safety, more on infections, wound safety and more – it’s a wealth of information on how to minimise your chances of infection.

If you’d like to find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon near you, here’s a link to our directory.

Angela’s breast reduction and tummy tuck with Dr Justin Perron

Further Reading Related to Breast Implant