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Can a bee sting puncture my saline implant?

Q:

I have saline implants following my mastectomy and a bee stung my breast and it is slightly swollen 5 days later. Can this swelling be the saline of the implant or the reaction of the bite? It isn't red or hot.

A:

Even as thin as the skin and underlying tissues are after a mastectomy, a bee sting will not be deep enough to injure your breast implant.  The swelling that is occurring is mostly likely a reaction to the sting and will resolve over time.  If you have had radiation to the breast, this can significantly slow your recovery.  You should monitor the site for signs of infection which can occur after insect bites or stings.

A:

The chance that a bee sting would injure a saline implant would be virtually impossible in most settings. It sounds as though your swelling is related to the reaction to the sting itself. If this has persisted you should be seen by your primary care doctor to check for an allergy to bee stings and to make sure you don't have an infection.

I hope this helps.

Dr Edwards

A:

It would be highly improbable if not impossible for the bee sting to cause a leakage of a saline implant. If the implant was leaking, the breast would appear smaller, not more swollen. The swelling is most likely from the reaction to the toxins in the bee sting and should diminish by itself. Patients who have also undergone radiation treatments may have slower healing in that area. I would suggest that you be evaluated by your plastic surgeon to make sure that no infection is developing.

If you have moved since having your reconstruction and not near the plastic surgeon who did the procedure, you should see a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

La Jolla, California

A:

Irene,

Thank you for your question.  It is very unlikely that a bee sting would go deep enough to puncture your saline breast implant.  However it is important that you see your plastic surgeon who performed your surgery.  The redness and swelling could indicate an infection in the skin and should be managed by your plastic surgeon.  Most likely it is just inflammation from the bee sting will resolve.

Good luck.

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