What is MRSA and how does that affect my surgery?
There have been many reports in the news over the past few years regarding MRSA. MRSA means methicillin resistant staph aureus. Staph aureus is a common bacteria. Over many years of overuse of antibiotics, a significant percentage of staph aureus is now resistant to certain types of antibiotics. Methicillin is one of these types. Methicillin is just a class of antibiotics, but when the organism is resistant to this, it is often resistant to a number of other antibiotics.
Many years ago it used to be thought that there was no difference in the bacteria other than the resistance to the antibiotics, however, recent research shows that there is more than just a difference in the antibiotic resistance. There is actually a difference in the aggressiveness of the bacteria that is MRSA, and the infections can be much more serious and severe.
A particular problem with MRSA is when implanting a device in the body such as a breast implant. There are two major problems that can occur, one of which is infection around the implant which can cause loss of the implant. The other problem is capsular contracture, and that is when the tissues around the implant become very hard and deform the breast which can require rather extensive surgery to attempt to correct.
It is always important to make sure to disclose to your plastic surgeon at the time of your initial history and physical if you have had a previous infection or previous heavy contact with someone else with an infection with MRSA. This may lead to significant changes in whether the surgery can be done or not and what types of antibiotics would be used. This is a patient safety issue and difficult decisions need to be made in regard to this significant problem that is occurring in the United States.