The true incidence of positive breast periprosthetic cultures in the absence of overt infection is not clearly established. We retrospectively reviewed data from 389 implants that were removed for reasons other than clinical infection. Many of these patients presented with a variety of musculoskeletal ailments. Others had symptomatic capsular contracture as the presenting complaint. In a few a known implant rupture was the reason for explantation. We identified a positive culture rate of 23.5 percent from capsule tissue. Most of these organisms were coagulase-negative staphylococci and anaerobic diphtheroids, but fungi and other organisms (generally felt to be more pathogenic than the less virulent coagulase-negative staphylococci) also were cultured.
In an attempt to identify the clinical relevance of these positive cultures, we statistically evaluated the culture results for associations with capsular contracture, implant rupture, type of implant, and location of implant. Of these, the only statistically significant correlation was between positive culture result and symptomatic capsular contracture (Baker class IV).