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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 254940, 6 pages
Research Article

Microbial Biofilms and Breast Tissue Expanders

1Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905, USA
2Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
3Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
4Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

Received 3 January 2013; Revised 20 May 2013; Accepted 13 June 2013

Academic Editor: Sheila Patrick

Copyright © 2013 Melissa J. Karau et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We previously developed and validated a vortexing-sonication technique for detection of biofilm bacteria on the surface of explanted prosthetic joints. Herein, we evaluated this technique for diagnosis of infected breast tissue expanders and used it to assess colonization of breast tissue expanders. From April 2008 to December 2011, we studied 328 breast tissue expanders at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA. Of seven clinically infected breast tissue expanders, six (85.7%) had positive cultures, one of which grew Propionibacterium species. Fifty-two of 321 breast tissue expanders (16.2%, 95% CI, 12.3–20.7%) without clinical evidence of infection also had positive cultures, 45 growing Propionibacterium species and ten coagulase-negative staphylococci. While vortexing-sonication can detect clinically infected breast tissue expanders, 16 percent of breast tissue expanders appear to be asymptomatically colonized with normal skin flora, most commonly, Propionibacterium species.