Home Breast Care Does Biofilm Play a Role in Breast Implant Illness?

Does Biofilm Play a Role in Breast Implant Illness?


Biofilms, or groups of bacteria that stick to surfaces, are responsible for around 80% of human-related infections. The idea of biofilms developing on implants for medical purposes is a new topic that could have implications for a variety of surgical procedures. Infections are the primary reason implants in the breast are removed.

The most important takeaways

  • Biofilms may form on breast implants and necessitate that implants be removed.
  • Biofilms formed on breast implants can cause infections or more serious issues.
  • Researchers have discovered a variety of ways to avoid the formation of biofilms over breast implants.

While breast implantation procedure is thought to be safe however, biofilms that may be harmful have been found on implantable implants and could result in infections. Gram-positive bacteria are the main cause of the infections. Because breast implants are one of the most sought-after kinds implant types, there’s a a growing desire to understand the connection between implants in the breast and the growth and effects of biofilms.

It is now clear that biofilms can cause problems for implants due to an process. They first attach to the implant’s surface. They mature and then grow on the implant surface. They then disperse to the surrounding environment and allow them to grow and transmit diseases.

Infection may cause long-term effects

If the body detects the presence of foreign biofilms and the immune system reacts and tries to remove the threat. Inflammation that persists typically results in surrounding tissue. However, antibiotics, commonly employed to treat bacteria, are not able to access the biofilms that surround breast implants due to the fact that bacteria are entrapped.

In addition to the short-term threats posed by infection, research also suggests that the infections that result from biofilms on breast implants may have long-term adverse health consequences. For example, the identification of bacterial biofilm in breast-implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) points to the possibility that infections caused by these biofilms could lead to this form of lymphoma.

Biofilms may lead to more surgeries.

Biofilms can also be implicated in the most talked about problem that is associated with breast implants, referred to as capsular contracture. In the event that capsular contraction develops in the body, the collagen capsule which is formed over the implants gets tighter. In addition to possibly cause pain, this contraction could also alter how the form of breasts.

The frequency and the consequences of capsular contracture has resulted in it being the most frequent reason for revisions to breast surgery that involves the need for additional procedures to prevent problems that arise from the original one. The prevalence of capsular contractures is not clear, with estimates ranging between 5% and 74% of all breast reconstructive operations. There is a report that surgeons diagnose approximately 45,000 cases of capsular contractures per year.

Although the reasons for contractures can be multifactorial, bacterial biofilms are recognized to play a significant part. It is believed that inflammation that develops as a result of biofilms leads to scarring and thickening around the capsule, and ultimately the development of contractures.

How can we prevent the formation of biofilms?

Given the lack of efficacy of antibiotics, and the frequent necessity for surgical intervention when biofilms form on implants for breasts, prevention is considered the most effective method. Fortunately, research on the best way to deal with the risk of biofilms caused by microbial organisms implanted in the breast has demonstrated that biofilms can be avoided.

There are a variety of strategies both surgeons and manufacturers can employ to decrease the chance of biofilm formation on implants for breasts. For instance, implants coated with the correct antimicrobial agent have also been proven to decrease the chance of biofilm development. Certain experts also advocate for using betadine and Nipple protection have been proven to decrease the risk the development of capular contracture.

Implants made of certain materials may also aid. For certain breast implant surgeries, implants that are textured are superior to ones with smooth surface in keeping bacteria away from adhering to implants, which inhibits biofilms’ ability to form. The larger area of the textured implants as compared to implants with smooth surfaces is believed to be a factor in the reduction in the likelihood of biofilm development.

The risk of formation of biofilms around breast implants or other implantable devices has become more evident. Fortunately, research is helping to understand the particular threats and the ways they manifest to ensure that medical professionals can more effectively combat the risk by taking preventative measures.

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  1. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. The Relationship of Bacterial Biofilms and Capsular Contracture in Breast Implants.
  2. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Biofilm Formation on Breast Implant Surfaces by Major Gram-Positive Bacterial Pathogens.
  3. National Institutes of Health. Antimicrobial coatings: Can the formation of biofilms on breast implants be avoided?
  4. National Institutes of Health. Bacterial Biofilm Infection Detected in Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma.
  5. Microorganisms. An Experimental Murine Model to Assess Biofilm Persistence on Commercial Breast Implant Surfaces.



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