Pain Under Breast Implant Years Later: Is It Common?
Breast enhancement or enlargement surgery is a standard procedure that many women these days undertake to improve their overall body image or to restore the fullness of their breasts after pregnancy and feeding. Some women do it to fix their overall self-esteem, to look beautiful, or to correct a genetic issue known as breast asymmetry.
Breast augmentation procedures in Miami and other “image-driven” cities are particularly popular.
But while women have their reasons to have breast implants inserted into their chest area, like any surgery, they’re going to encounter a series of problems with their new implants, one of which includes breast pain.
This could be one of two things: strained muscles or capsular contracture. The former isn’t that big of a deal, but the latter is and you need to have it checked right away. Breast implant patients may also experience pain in their breasts immediately after surgery as well, but it can also occur after a decade or so since they had the last undergone breast enhancement.
In this article, we’re going to explain why women experience pain under breast implants years later and explain what the best course of action is.
Breast Implant Pain Cause: Straining The Muscles
Although both saline and silicone breast implants are typically light when it comes to weight, your chest will be carrying an extra bit of weight after breast augmentation surgery has been performed. What this will do is cause strain in some of your chest muscles. What’s more, is that the implants will take up more space on your chest, which could lead to musculoskeletal complications. If this is what it’s going to be, then it’s most likely that the pain will mostly focus around the nipple. This can happen in a number of ways, including:
Plenty of coughing. One of the most common occurrences of pain under breast implants after so many years since the surgery is an illness that induces coughing. Coughing is one of the most important reasons why surgeons advise their patients to never smoke weeks before or even after the procedure. Here is how coughing can lead to chest pain within the breast implant:
Costochondritis. This is the inflammation of the rib joints which connect the cartilage within the bone. Whenever we take a breath, the rib junction experiences a bit of a mechanical collision. This frequently occurs when we cough a lot upon being sick. And because there’s less space in the chest area thanks to the implants, the friction experience becomes a lot more intense. This friction produces inflammation, and as such, results in pain.
Here’s what you should do if you experience such pain:
- Discuss analgesic medication with your doctor
- Focus more on healing and try to reduce the cough
- Take medication that combats inflammation
- Use a muscle relaxant
- Keep still until the cough subsides. Any extra movement could increase the inflammation
Pectoral exercises during the gym. If your chest muscles experience physical stress, it could lead to natural soreness in the muscles, which can sometimes be misinterpreted as implant-induced pain. Soreness experienced from exercising isn’t dangerous and you should carry on working out.
Breast Implant Pain Cause: Capsular Contracture
Another reason why women experience pain under breast implants is capsular contracture. Unlike muscle straining, capsular contracture is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Just because you’ve planted foreign objects in your body, doesn’t mean your body isn’t able to detect them. When implants are placed into the chest area, a periprosthetic capsule or a scar tissue will be formed around it, squeezing the implant. Not only is it painful for the patient, but it also leads to the breast looking quite disfigured and unnatural.
Possible Causes Of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture is possible no matter what breast implant type is placed within the chest area. It usually happens more around silicone implants than saline but not so much regarding textured implants as the sub-glandular procedure is involved. However, because of the chances of contracting atypical large cell lymphoma, plastic surgeons are now avoiding textured implants.
At times, capsular contracture occurs because of an infection, which finds its way during surgery. Besides this, other issues may start occurring, such as hematoma or seroma. These could also have a hand in the occurrence of capsular contracture.
Breast implant patients can barely notice capsular contracture or it can be so severe that it could impact the quality of their life to a great extent. Capsular contracture is graded based on the given criteria:
- Grade 1: the breast looks normal, feels soft, and the implant is flexible.
- Grade 2: The breast is still normal, though it is a bit stiffened.
- Grade 3: The breast isn’t normal anymore in appearance. It has shifted upwards, has a rounded shape, or shows other signs of distortion from the contracture. Furthermore, the breast is hard to the touch.
- Grade 4: same symptoms as grade 3, only now the breast is even stiffer to the touch, and the patient experiences pain.
What Should I Do If You Have Capsular Contracture?
If you experience the symptoms as described above, then it is highly recommended that you seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon for a closer look. If the contracture is left as it is, it will only cause the patient more just comfort and pain. Thankfully, however, there aren’t any major health issues that are experienced in case this issue prolongs. Once you’re in the doctor’s office:
- the MRI images of the breasts will be reviewed to examine the contracture
- A potential repair procedure will be provided, depending on the state that the patient is in.
You may need to surgically remove the implant with or without replacing it with another. For this, a surgery known as capsulectomy needs to be performed to remove the stiffened capsule. However, there’s also the possibility that capsular contracture may occur once again even after correctional surgery has been performed.
Other procedures include open capsulectomy where the plastic surgeon will cut open the tissue capsule around the implant by making tiny incisions and removing some of the capsules.