An epidemic of post-surgical wound infections, caused by a non-tuberculous mycobacterium, has been on-going in Brazil. It has been unclear whether one or multiple lineages are responsible and whether their wide geographical distribution across Brazil is due to spread from a single point source or is the result of human-mediated transmission. 188 isolates, collected from nine Brazilian states, were whole genome sequenced and analysed using phylogenetic and comparative genomic approaches. The isolates from Brazil formed a single clade, which was estimated to have emerged in 2003. We observed temporal and geographic structure within the lineage that enabled us to infer the movement of sub-lineages across Brazil. The genome size of the Brazilian lineage was reduced relative to most strains in the three subspecies of Mycobacterium abscessus and contained a novel plasmid, pMAB02, in addition to the previously described pMAB01 plasmid. One lineage, which emerged just prior to the initial outbreak, is responsible for the epidemic of post-surgical wound infections in Brazil. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that multiple transmission events led to its spread. The presence of a novel plasmid and the reduced genome size suggest that the lineage has undergone adaptation to the surgical niche.