Identification of the endogenous microbiological flora of the human breast and its role in breast infections following subglandular augmentation or reduction mammaplasty was undertaken. A total of 231 cultures were performed on 59 breasts in 30 patients. Patients were followed for 12 months.
No fungus was cultured from any specimen. Of the breasts cultured 53% were positive for coagulase-negative staphylococcus. Other aerobes found included diphtheroids, lactobacillus, D-enterococcus, micrococcus, and α-hemolytic streptococcus. Propionibacterium acne was the most frequent anaerobic bacteria cultured. Other anaerobes included peptococcus and clostridium sporogenes. There was no correlation with respect to the type of bacterium and the depth within the breast where the culture specimens were taken. Postoperative wound infections developed in 2 of 19 patients undergoing reduction mammaplasty. Bacteria identical to those cultured at the time of surgery were again cultured from the wound. Twenty subglandular augmentation mammaplasties were performed with a 25% capsular rate at one year. Two capsules were associated with no bacterial growth at the time of mammaplasty surgery, whereas three were associated with coagulase-negative staphylococcus, Propionibacterium acne, and diphtheroids, respectively. Of the 15 breasts with no capsular contracture after one year, operative culture revealed coagulase-negative staphylococcus in 8 and no bacterial growth in 7.
Even breast tissue located deep within the gland away from the nipple contains a flora that is similar to that of normal skin. Cases of infection in which the endogenous bacteria were correlated with later infection was documented.
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