European Journal of Plastic Surgery

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 307–310 | Cite as

Nipple shields and antibiotic prophylaxis in skin and nipple sparing risk reducing mastectomies—a multi-centre study

Original Paper



Florid and sub-clinical infection in implant-based breast reconstruction can cause significant problems. There are a wide and varied range of methods utilised in an attempt to reduce infection. Nipple shields are well known to reduce the spread of infection during surgery as are prophylactic antibiotics.


Twenty patients, in two centres, had microbiological swabs taken from the nipple-areolar complex after preparation with povidone-iodine and post-operatively from the underside of nipple shields. These swabs were cultured in the local microbiology laboratory.


No swabs after preparation grew organisms. Five (12.5%) swabs taken post-operatively were positive. Of these, three grew coagulase-negative Staphylococcus and two grew mixed skin commensals. All were sensitive to Flucloxacillin.


Nipple shields are essential to reduce the risk of infection. Povidone-iodine is satisfactory for preparation in our cohort. Prophylactic antibiotics are indicated on induction.

Level of Evidence: Level III, risk/prognostic study.


Implants Breast reconstruction Nipple shields Antibiotics 


Compliance with ethical standards


We received no source of funding.

Conflict of interest

James Wokes, K. Allison, N. Collis declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

No formal ethical approval was sought but the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki principles were followed.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was given by each participant for participation in the study and a written leaflet was provided with information as to the purpose of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plastic SurgeryRoyal Victoria infirmaryNewcastleUK
  2. 2.Department of Plastic SurgeryJames Cook University HospitalMiddlesbroughUK

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