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imageAbstract: Rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (RG-NTM), which can contaminate inadequately sterilized medical instruments, have been known to cause serious postsurgical skin and soft tissue infections that often are characterized by a prolonged incubation period and a disfiguring clinical course. Historically, these infections have been associated with surgical procedures performed outside the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported an outbreak of RG-NTM infections among women who underwent cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic. Because of the large Dominican American community in upper Manhattan, we have recently observed a number of these cases at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. We highlight the case of a 55-year-old woman who developed a postsurgical RG-NTM infection after bilateral breast reduction in the Dominican Republic; she experienced progressive deformity of her left breast until the causative pathogen was identified 20 months after her initial surgery. To assist in the timely diagnosis and treatment of these infections, we aim to promote greater awareness among physicians who are likely to encounter such patients. We present the pathologic findings of a review of 7 cases of RG-NTM infections seen at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and discuss the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges associated with these infections, such as prolonged incubation periods, the need for acid-fast stains and mycobacterial cultures, and the combination of surgical therapy and lengthy antibiotic courses that are often required for treatment.

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