Pain / Discomfort
You have been experiencing pain or discomfort due to your breast implants - if the implants themselves are causing this pain or discomfort then you must request a breast implant revision. There are a number of causes for implants to become uncomfortable such as:
- Capsular Contracture - There are varying levels of severity of this - the formation of scar tissue surrounding the implant is normal for the healing process yet when this ‘capsule’ becomes hard and contracts around the implant this can lead to aesthetic and physical problems (pain in extreme cases).
- Lymph node damage - Some patients with breast implants have been found to have enlarged lymph nodes, or lymphadenopathy, often occurring in the armpit area.
- Seroma - The symptoms of seroma include swelling and possibly leakage of fluid at the site of the wound/scar. Occasionally accompanied by redness and mild pain, and can appear as a lump or cyst.
- Badly placed implants - the positioning of the implants could be interfering with the body’s natural situation, for example, if the implant was not placed correctly the muscle could be sitting differently causing you to feel uncomfortable.
- Rupture - if you have silicon implants there is a possibility they can rupture or leak if the integrity of the implant is disturbed.
Pain is not a normal occurrence with breast augmentation, so you should seek your surgeon’s advice if you are experiencing any (once you have fully recovered from surgery). Daily life with breast implants should be just as it was before, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort at all.
While this is not life-threatening, a ruptured implant should be treated as urgent, seeking medical attention immediately is strongly advised in order to prevent any infection or internal scar tissue.
How can an implant rupture? Generally the materials which implants are currently made form are extremely durable however if extreme pressure was placed on the area there is a possibility of a rupture. A car accident for example. Another cause can be that the shell of the implant may have weakened over time.
Ruptured Saline Implants
If your implant is a saline version the affected area would be visibly noticeable straight away as the implant would naturally deflate once ruptured. This is nothing to worry about internally as the fluid within the implant is absorbed naturally by the body and does not cause further complications. Aesthetically though the breast will appear deflated.
Ruptured Silicon Implants
These are not easy to detect and so need to be diagnosed via ultrasound or MRI. If a silicon implant ruptures the gel leaks out slowly meaning that the difference would not be visible immediately if at all.
If your implant shifts and sits lower than it should, below the breast crease, this is known as bottoming out and is obvious to look at. It can appear almost as a double breast as the implant slips below the nipple area sometimes causing the nipple to rise a little and the outline of the implant becomes visible. This is more common with larger breasts due to the weight of the implants but skin laxity with age can also cause this to occur. The tissue within the breast area is unable or no longer able to support the implant and causes it to ‘bottom out’.
The breast implant should always be in the correct place once it has settled in its position, if your implant is rotating or moving dramatically then this is cause for concern and medial attention. Implants can shift for the following reasons:
- Lateral displacement - if the area within the breast, or the implant pocket, is too large then the implant has the space to move too far away from the centre line of the chest.
- Symmastia - when the implants move too close together - this can occur (very rare) if too much tissue is removed from around the breastbone area as this can cause detached muscles between the breasts.
- Rotational displacement - rotation can also be caused if the implant pocket is too large. This can be difficult to notice with round implants but the teardrop shape will appear unnatural should it change position.
Implant Shape Change
If the shape of your implants has changed significantly this could be due to any of the causes above. Generally this won’t occur to both implants at the same time so it can be detected easily. Again, this is not a huge medical risk but may cause serious dissatisfaction and emotional stress.
When the body treats the implant as a foreign object and creates excess scar tissue in order to isolate it, this can cause capsular contracture. An overproduction of hardened tissue which is graded at four different levels of severity
- 1. No interference with the implant or the augmentation results, no symptoms.
- 2. Minor cosmetic symptoms - can feel firmer to touch but aesthetically fine.
- 3-4. Hard misshapen breasts which are not aesthetically pleasing and can even become painful.
- Grade three and four are often treated with a change of implant.
If you are simply not satisfied with your augmentation then this may prompt you to seek a breast implant change. Whether you prefer to go larger or smaller it is advised to allow the body to heal prior properly before you proceed with another surgery. Speak to our surgeons and they will advise you how to best move forward.
For more information on breast augmentation or breast implant change at Ocean Clinic, please contact us today.