Breast implant-associated infections: The role of the national surgical quality improvement program and the local microbiome

Justin B. Cohen, Cathy Carroll, Marissa M. Tenenbaum, Terence M. Myckatyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background: The most common cause of surgical readmission after breast implant surgery remains infection. Six causative organisms are principally involved: Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus, Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Propionibacterium, and Corynebacterium. The authors investigated the infection patterns and antibiotic sensitivities to characterize their local microbiome and determine ideal antibiotic selection. Methods: A retrospective review of 2285 consecutive implant-based breast procedures was performed. Included surgical procedures were immediate and delayed breast reconstruction, tissue expander exchange, and cosmetic augmentation. Patient demographics, chemotherapy and/or irradiation status, implant characteristics, explantation reason, time to infection, microbiological data, and antibiotic sensitivities were reviewed. Results: Forty-seven patients (2.1 percent) required inpatient admission for antibiotics, operative explantation, or drainage by interventional radiology. The infection rate varied depending on surgical procedure, with the highest rate seen in mastectomy and immediate tissue expander reconstruction (6.1 percent). The mean time to explantation was 41 days. Only 50 percent of infections occurred within 30 days of the indexed National Surgical Quality Improvement Program operation. The most commonly isolated organisms were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (27 percent), methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (25 percent), methicillin-resistant S. aureus (7 percent), Pseudomonas (7 percent), and Peptostreptococcus (7 percent). All Gram-positive organisms were sensitive to vancomycin, linezolid, tetracycline, and doxycycline; all Gramnegative organisms were sensitive to gentamicin and cefepime. Conclusions: Empiric antibiotics should be vancomycin (with the possible inclusion of gentamicin) based on their broad effectiveness against the authors' unique microbiome. Minor infections should be treated with tetracycline or doxycycline as a second-line agent. National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data are adequate for monitoring and comparing breast infections but certainly not comprehensive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-929
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015


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