Possible adverse effects of microbial organisms have been implicated in symptomatic silicone implant patients. In the literature, numerous authors have investigated the possible role of infection with respect to implant problems. To date, various bacterial species have been reported, including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, peptostreptococci, and Clostridium perfringeus. Infections in polyurethanc-coated prostheses also have been shown to prolong morbidity. Antibiotic use has been relatively empirical in this regard. The purpose of this study was, first, to determine the frequency, type, and clinical relevance of microbial colonization on implant surfaces removed from symptomatic patients and, second, to determine possible effects of microbial colonization on implant integrity (gel bleed, rupture).
A total of 139 implants from 72 symptomatic patients were entered into the prospective clinical study between February of 1993 and July of 1994 at the UCLA Medical Center. The implant shell types included smooth (79 percent), polyurethane (8 percent), textured (7 percent), and smooth and Dacron (6 percent). The implant locations were subglandular (71 percent), submuscular (28 percent), and subcutaneous (1 percent). Of the 139 implants removed, 69 percent were intact and 31 percent were ruptured. Forty-seven percent of 139 implants were culture-positive. Propionibacterium acues was isolated most frequently (57.5 percent), followed by Staphylococcus epidermidis (41 percent), and then Escherichia coli (1.5 percent). No fingal infections were identified. Culture positivity was not significantly associated with systemic symptoms. Sixty-seven percent of the positive culture implants were intact; 33 percent were ruptured. The frequency (47 percent) and types (P. acnes and S. epidermidis) of microbial colonization are determined in symptomatic silicone implant patients.