The semi-permeability of silicone: a saline-filled breast implant with intraluminal and pericapsular Aspergillus flavus

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2006;59(10):1118-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2006.01.020. Epub 2006 Apr 17.


Fungal infection of breast implants is a rare complication. Growth of fungi within the lumen of saline-filled implants has previously been demonstrated in laboratory studies, however, clinical infections are rare. We report a case of Aspergillus flavus growth within and around a saline-filled breast implant that was inserted 18 months previously. This was successfully treated with implant removal and wound irrigation. Possible routes of microbial contamination as well as survival mechanisms of organisms within saline-filled implants are discussed. This case re-iterates that the silicone envelope of a saline-filled implant is selectively permeable and we believe this is instrumental in facilitating intraluminal microbial growth. This also emphasises the importance of stringent asepsis when dealing with saline-filled breast implants including avoiding contamination of the saline filling fluid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Aspergillus flavus / growth & development
  • Aspergillus flavus / isolation & purification*
  • Breast Implants / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects*
  • Permeability
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / diagnosis*
  • Silicone Gels
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry


  • Silicone Gels
  • Sodium Chloride