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Breast Implant Infections: Is Cefazolin Enough?

Feldman, Evan M. M.D.; Kontoyiannis, Dimitrios P. M.D., Sc.D.; Sharabi, Safa E. M.D.; Lee, Edward M.D.; Kaufman, Yoav M.D.; Heller, Lior M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: September 2010 - Volume 126 - Issue 3 - p 779-785
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181e5f7ff
Breast: Original Articles

Background: Bacterial infection is a well-known risk of breast implant surgery, occurring in 2.0 to 2.5 percent of cosmetic cases and up to 20 percent of reconstructive cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a first-generation cephalosporin for perioperative prophylaxis; however, no guidelines exist for the empiric treatment of established breast implant infections. A recent increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections has prompted interest in using alternative antibiotics with anti–methicillin-resistant S. aureus activity for both prophylactic and empiric therapy. The goal of the present study was to assess the bacteriology and antibiotic susceptibility of breast implant-related infections at two tertiary care hospitals in the Texas Medical Center to determine whether a baseline for empiric therapy for breast implant infections could be established.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients who developed periprosthetic infections within 1 month after breast implant placement between 2001 and 2006 was completed. One hundred six patients with 116 infected breasts were identified. Patients were included in the study only if they had documented culture data.

Results: Thirty-one breasts in 26 patients met inclusion criteria. Sixty-seven percent of the infected breasts had S. aureus infections; of these, 68 percent were methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections and 32 percent were methicillin-susceptible S. aureus infections. We noted Gram-negative rods and sterile cultures in 6 percent and 26 percent of breasts, respectively.

Conclusions: Because of the high incidence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections in breast implant recipients, we believe that choosing an antibiotic with anti–methicillin-resistant S. aureus activity is justified for empiric treatment of breast implant infections, until culture and sensitivity data, if obtained, become available.

Houston, Texas

From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Received for publication November 13, 2009; accepted March 10, 2010.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Lior Heller, M.D.; Division of Plastic Surgery; Baylor College of Medicine; 1709 Dryden Street, Suite 1500; Houston, Texas 77030;

©2010American Society of Plastic Surgeons