Rapidly growing Mycobacterium infections after cosmetic surgery in medical tourists: the Bronx experience and a review of the literature

Lucas R. Cusumano, Vivy Tran, Aileen Tlamsa, Philip Chung, Robert Grossberg, Gregory Weston, Uzma N. Sarwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Medical tourism is increasingly popular for elective cosmetic surgical procedures. However, medical tourism has been accompanied by reports of post-surgical infections due to rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM). The authors’ experience working with patients with RGM infections who have returned to the USA after traveling abroad for cosmetic surgical procedures is described here. Methods Patients who developed RGM infections after undergoing cosmetic surgeries abroad and who presented at the Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, New York, USA) between August 2015 and June 2016 were identified. A review of patient medical records was performed. Results Four patients who presented with culture-proven RGM infections at the sites of recent cosmetic procedures were identified. All patients were treated with a combination of antibiotics and aggressive surgical treatment. Conclusions This case series of RGM infections following recent cosmetic surgeries abroad highlights the risks of medical tourism. Close monitoring of affected patients by surgical and infectious disease specialties is necessary, as aggressive surgical debridement combined with appropriate antibiotic regimens is needed to achieve cure. Given the increasing reports of post-surgical RGM infections, consultants should have a low threshold for suspecting RGM, as rapid diagnosis may accelerate the initiation of targeted treatment and minimize morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2017

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Keywords

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Medical tourism
  • Mycobacteria chelonae
  • Mycobacterium abscessus complex
  • Rapidly growing mycobacteria
  • Surgical site infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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