Pain is an expected side effect of having breast implants. The fact that the plastic surgeon performing the procedure needs to make cuts in your skin, however small and unnoticeable they may be, means it is likely to hurt around the area.
But what if your breast implants are hurting years after having your procedure? In this post, we’ll discuss potentially what it means when your breast implants hurt in both the short term and the long term.
Why Are My Breast Implants Hurting?
Your breast implants could be hurting for several reasons – and pain is more common than you think, affecting 38% of women who have breast augmentation – ranging from minor issues like strained muscles to more serious problems like suffering from capsular contracture.
As there are so many reasons why your breast implants may hurt, we will take a look at this in greater detail…
Alternatively, if you are worried and would like your implants checked now, contact us today and book your consultation with our plastic surgeons who will be happy to assess you.
Pain from the Incisions
It’s fair to say that breast augmentation surgery has come a long way and for the most part, breast implant procedures are generally only minimally invasive.
However, there still needs to be incisions made to give the surgeon enough space to insert your breast implants.
Therefore, following the procedure, the area where the incisions were made and the surrounding area are likely to be delicate and sore.
You should be able to combat that pain with over-the-counter medication. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe pain relief medication to help you recover.
The only reason you should be worried about this kind of pain is if it lasts for several weeks following surgery, if it is very severe or if there are any signs of infection around the incision site.
Irritation and Itchiness
As well as pain at and around the incision site, you may also feel itchiness or irritation. This is a normal side effect of the skin going through the natural healing process.
There is nothing to worry about if there are no signs of infection like pus or swelling.
If the level of irritation you are experiencing is unusually severe, you should speak to your doctor.
While it’s true that saline breast implants and silicone breast implants are lightweight, immediately following your breast augmentation surgery you are carrying an extra load on your chest.
This can strain some of your chest muscles. A more important issue is the fact that breast implants take up an increased amount of space around the area of your chest.
This is worth noting as it can cause musculoskeletal complications. If this is the case, the pain you experience will be more focused around and towards your nipple.
A more serious cause of breast implant pain is necrosis. Necrosis occurs when blood flow to the area is restricted, causing a lack of oxygen which can result in the death of breast tissue.
A key symptom to look out for that could indicate necrosis is a change in your skin colour around the area from blue, through to purple then black.
If you notice a change in the colour of the skin around your implant, you must get to your doctor as soon as possible to reduce the potential damage and long-term health risks.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
If you are experiencing symptoms like rashes, seizures, or a sudden fever, it could be that you are suffering from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
This bacterial infection is potentially life-threatening if it is left untreated. Therefore, you need to go and see your doctor if you think there may be a chance you are suffering from TSS.
Serous fluid, a liquid that is secreted following breast implant surgery, can gather around the incision area.
If there is an excessive amount of serous fluid, it can develop into a lump that is known as a seroma.
This lump can be painful to touch and even have a burning sensation. You need to pay very close attention to how your wound heals and monitor any changes in skin texture that may indicate a seroma.
. If you suspect you have a seroma, you can speak to your plastic surgeon who will drain the lump to eliminate the breast pain you are experiencing.
You will know you have a hematoma if you have what looks like bruises, swelling and a feeling of tenderness.
This is caused by the blood from the site of the incisions pooling and clotting into nearby tissues.
This causes small lumps to develop. Your doctor will check for any abnormal lumps in and around your breasts after your breast implant procedure because it can indicate more serious conditions.
However, a lot of hematomas tend to disappear in time without requiring treatment.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Following your breast implant surgery, the lymph nodes present in your armpits may feel painful or experience swelling.
This can be caused by the incision site or breast tissue being infected. There is a chance that the lymph nodes were damaged during your breast implant surgery.
If you think your breast implant pain is caused by an increase in the hardness of either one or both of the breasts, you may be suffering from capsular contracture.
Many women experience this post-breast surgery. Capsular contracture is a serious condition that is caused by breast scar tissue tightening around the implants and can happen at any time following breast augmentation surgery.
If you are already suffering from an infection around the incision site, it could increase how quickly dissolvable sutures break down.
When they disappear before your incision site is healed fully, either side of the wound will start to pull apart. This is referred to as wound dehiscence.
It is often caused by doing strenuous activities or lifting heavy objects too soon following surgery.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to have this treated and so you can avoid further complications.
Can Breast Implants Hurt Years Later?
In theory, breast implants can hurt at any point in time following surgery.
Immediate pain is often the result of the procedure itself and your body healing the skin that was cut and adjusting to the new addition to your body.
However, as time goes on, you could experience other complications and pain. Many of the most common are outlined above.
As with anything, if this pain seems abnormally severe or you suffer from any of the symptoms highlighted above, you should consult your surgeon.
Though it’s unlikely that your breast implants will need to be replaced for decades, it’s worth getting a check-up at least after every 10 years to ensure everything is still okay with your implants.
Given its impact and the seriousness of capsular contractures, we have written about the symptoms in more detail to highlight them.
How do you know if something is wrong with your breast implants?
Generally speaking, if you notice any minor or major noticeable difference in your breast implants and the area around the incision site, it could be a cause for concern.
Particularly burning sensations, swelling that does not reduce, redness on the skin around your breasts are signs that something is wrong.
What are the early signs of capsular contracture?
As mentioned above, one of the common reasons why you could be feeling pain in and around your breasts is capsular contracture.
Although this is wrongly attributed as an allergic reaction to a foreign body inside you in the form of your implants, it does have similar effects.
How do you know if it is a capsular contracture that is causing your pain?
Although they can form very quickly, there is still a gradual process leading up to the full development of capsular contractures.
The thing that makes it difficult is that the majority of women, possibly like yourself, fail to notice those small and slight changes that happen every day to their breasts until they accumulate into noticeable changes or there is pain or discomfort beyond what is normal and won’t go away.
Aside from the pain and general discomfort, the most noticeable symptoms and signs of capsular contracture are:
- Breasts look smaller than normal – capsular contracture effectively squeezes your breast implants and will make them look smaller in appearance. It could be that the pressure caused by the contracture is even enough to rupture your implant.
- Breasts look ball-shaped or otherwise distorted – The tightening of the scar tissue that forms around your implant can cause it to deform. It is a good idea, therefore, to carefully look regularly at your breasts for any signs of irregularities in the breast shape and the form if you have had breast implants.
- Breasts are much higher up – Thanks to how contractures work and the tightening you can experience around the protective capsule, it can often shift your breast implants from their original position and force them to move upwards. Therefore, if you think your breasts have moved and are significantly higher than usual, it’s best not to take any chances and get it checked out by your surgeon as soon as possible.
- Hardened breasts – This is perhaps the most recognisable and common symptom of capsular contracture. If your breasts feel firmer or harder than they normally do, with no other cause or reason, it is most likely you are suffering from capsular contracture.
If you are suffering from capsular contracture, you will likely need to have a procedure to rectify the issue.
If you are worried and want your implants checked now, contact us today and book your consultation with our plastic surgeons who will be happy to assess you.
Important note: If your breast implants are hurting, accompanied by lumpiness around your breast or armpit area, then see your doctor immediately to rule out anything serious.