Histologic, Molecular, and Clinical Evaluation of Explanted Breast Prostheses, Capsules, and Acellular Dermal Matrices for Bacteria

Louis Poppler, Justin Cohen, Utku Can Dolen, Andrew E. Schriefer, Marissa M. Tenenbaum, Corey Deeken, Richard A. Chole, Terence M. Myckatyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Subclinical infections, manifest as biofilms, are considered an important cause of capsular contracture. Acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) are frequently used in revision surgery to prevent recurrent capsular contractures. Objective We sought to identify an association between capsular contracture and biofilm formation on breast prostheses, capsules, and ADMs in a tissue expander/implant (TE/I) exchange clinical paradigm. Methods Biopsies of the prosthesis, capsule, and ADM from patients (N = 26) undergoing TE/I exchange for permanent breast implant were evaluated for subclinical infection. Capsular contracture was quantified with Baker Grade and intramammary pressure. Biofilm formation was evaluated with specialized cultures, rtPCR, bacterial taxonomy, live:dead staining, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Collagen distribution, capsular histology, and ADM remodeling were quantified following fluorescent and light microscopy. Results Prosthetic devices were implanted from 91 to 1115 days. Intramammary pressure increased with Baker Grade. Of 26 patients evaluated, one patient had a positive culture and one patient demonstrated convincing evidence of biofilm morphology on SEM. Following PCR amplification 5 samples randomly selected for 16S rRNA gene sequencing demonstrated an abundance of suborder Micrococcineae, consistent with contamination. Conclusions Our data suggest that bacterial biofilms likely contribute to a proportion, but not all diagnosed capsular contractures. Biofilm formation does not appear to differ significantly between ADMs or capsules. While capsular contracture remains an incompletely understood but common problem in breast implant surgery, advances in imaging, diagnostic, and molecular techniques can now provide more sophisticated insights into the pathophysiology of capsular contracture. Level of Evidence 4 Therapeutic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-668
Number of pages16
JournalAesthetic surgery journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2015


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