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Anyone else w/infection after fat transfer?

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nns121317
nns121317 Member Posts: 115
edited July 2023 in Breast Reconstruction

I had a BMX with immediate implant reconstruction in October 2021, followed by chemo and then radiation of my left breast/chest area due to a rogue node. Radiation finished in June 2022, and my skin was in pretty good shape but the chest wall and surrounding tissue were quite tight. After discussion with my surgeon, I elected fat grafting to address the tightness and some other cosmetic concerns, rippling and such.

The fat transfer was done in late June, and I felt like everything went well but it seemed like my radiated breast was healing much more slowly than the other breast (both had fat transferred). Earlier this week I went for my scheduled post-op, and it turns out I have an infection in the radiated breast. I was immediately admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics. When I was first admitted, the surgeon said we might have to remove the implant, let the infection clear, then put it back. It's been four days now of nonstop antibiotics. The breast has swelled bigger than it was before and is still red and hot to the touch, although the surgeon's PA thinks it's getting better. The surgeon told me yesterday that I'm the first patient he's had who acquired an infection from fat transfer, and I don't think he knows how to proceed. Aside from being super uncomfortable, I'm worried this infection isn't going to clear as long as the implant is in, but the surgeon seems hesitant to take it out.

Anyone else have an experience like this? I don't want to push for surgery if it's not necessary, but I want to make sure this doesn't get worse, especially since the tissue in the area is probably already compromised due to rads

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  • serendipity09
    serendipity09 Member Posts: 769
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    Nns121317 - I'm sorry you are going through this. Although I was never told that I had an infection, after my exchange to implant surgery I did have fevers, even while on antibiotics which was protocol after the surgery. I was also diagnosed with a recurrence a few days after. I chalked my fevers to my body trying to adjust to the fat grafting, the newly placed implants and the recurrence. One of my surgeons diagnosed me with implant disease, which I never really knew about, nor did I research it as I had too much on my mind with the recurrence and having to do radiation. I did struggle quite a bit with while I had the implants. I always had flu-like symptoms. When the implants were removed it went away. My body did not like the implants so it rejected them causing me to feel sick all the time.

    Almost a year ago, I had the implants removed and had a DIEP Flap and the flu-like symptoms were gone. Most recently (May) I had fat grafting done and have had no issues whatsoever.

    I hope this gets resolved and that you feel better soon!

  • mavericksmom
    mavericksmom Member Posts: 1,207
    edited July 2023
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    I had exchange surgery with fat graphing in March. I didn't have prior rads in that breast, but at my post op visit I knew something was wrong because of my PS's facial expression when he removed the bandages. My breast was bright red, hot, swollen and covered in small blisters. He was definitely not expecting to see that! At first he thought it was a fungal infection, but after meds, which didn't work, and more research, he felt it was an allergic reaction, contact dermatitis, to xeroform, the dressing they use after surgery. It slowly improved by letting the skin exposed to air. He never had anyone have an allergic reaction to that before.

    Not sure if your PS used xeroform, but thought I would share.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,233
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    Hi all,

    Too @serendipity09's point, we just wanted to share this article about Breast Implant Illness.

    We hope you find answers and relief soon, @nns121317!

    —The Mods