Vibrating "Bourdonnement" 3 Years After Breast Augmentation Surgery

I had a breast augmentation procedure 3yrs ago w/cohesive gel implants. I've recently started to experience bourdonnement-vibrating/buzzing/humming in L breast-almost feels like bubbles rising. Apparently normal during post-op period, but normal 3 yrs later, all of the sudden? Mammogram a few months ago was WNL. Could the implant be bottoming out? Trauma due to overzealous boyfriend, maybe? (I hope they're not that fragile). Something more serious?? Nothing serious?? Just tell me I'm not going to end up with an embolism. They look awesome-if I do say so myself-no rippling or anything, but these symptoms are a bit unnerving

Doctor Answers (7)

Bourdonnement is described in the plastic surgery literature.

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Your implant sliding against the stretched moist tissues causes a friction rub (sound) that can be felt as well as occasionally heard. This is termed "bourdonnement" and was definitively described in the plastic surgery literature: "Bourdonnement and other benign temporary breast implant sounds", Annals of Plastic Surgery, Vol 43 p589, 1999.

When this occurs this long after surgery, the sound is not related to the incompletely-healed and still-inflamed tissues. It may well indicate some new source of inflammation, possibly related to a moderate trauma to the breast tissues, perhaps secondary to bacterial contamination such as from dental work (controversial, but still a real occurrence). The inflammation that causes this sound has nothing to do with "bottoming-out" but could indeed be due to a severely overzealous breast manipulation!

You are either very good at research or have some medical background, since a friction rub heard on chest auscultation with a stethescope can be associated with a pulmonary embolus from DVT. Bourdonnement alone without any other symptoms (leg pain, swelling, shortness of breath) is NOT worrisome.  

Ibuprofen or Celebrex (prescription) anti-inflammatory medications are a good starting point. If you begin to notice firmness or soreness in the "noisy" breast, this could be an early sign of capsular contracture. See your surgeon for evaluation and consideration of a course of Accolate or Singulair and Vitamin E. Best wishes!


Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Vibrating left breast implant: tramsmitted pulse?

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I have never heard of this before. However, it sounds sufficiently serious that I would not ignore the symptoms. It could be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder such as the transmitted pulse of atrial fibrillation or premature ventricular contractions. This may require cardiac evaluation. Discuss your findings with your plastic surgeon, internist, gynecologist and cardiologist.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Breast Augmentation Long Term concerns

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Breast Augmentation is one of the most commonly performed procedures and generally, patients are very satisfied. In Canada, we have been in a position to offer primary breast augmentation with cohesive gel implants for many years. 

Although Breast Augmentation patients are generally very satisfied, it also a procedure where long term complication and side effects can arise. Fluid collections within a pseudo capsule, hardening, rotation, pain and discomfort amongst others are all known to occur

Long term breast implant symptoms, no matter how unusual they may seem certainly warrant a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and likely some imaging and investigations to rule out any pathology or issues.

Before embarking upon any course of action a consultation with a certified aesthetic plastic surgeon is a necessity

R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

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Vibrations are NOT commonly felt 3 years AFTER Breast Augmentation

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Not sure why you picked a French word to describe it but vibrations/buzzing may be felt with inner ear problems but I have NEVER encountered this in my training nor in my many years in Plastic Surgery. Moreover, not sure why you bring up the topic of an embolism as it is unheard of to have DVT / embolism appear 3 years after surgery much less heralded by sensory vibrations.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Bourdonnement - great word!

+1

You must be a music aficionado - this is an unfamiliar term in the realm of breast surgery- but your description is interesting. I have read that sub-muscular implants can move across prominent ribs and create noises from within the breast - but I've never met a patient that reports this. If you breasts looks and feel terrific, there is probably not an issue.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

What is "bourdonnement" anyway?

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After 25 years of breast surgery I thought I'd heard it all...but I have never heard of this term. What does it mean?

With regards to your concerns, it isn't normal to have the sensation of fluid around an implant years after surgery. A delayed seroma can occur and should be evaluated by a plastic surgeon.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Questional sounds or sensations in your breast??

+1

I would have to say that I don't know what you mean when you say "bourdonnement-vibrating/buzzing/humming". I cannot think of any reason whay a humming sound could be made, especially if there is no movement going on in the breast itself. It's great that you are so happy with how they look but I would recommend a follow-up visit with your plastic surgeon to allay your anxiety.

I hope this helps.

Dr Edwards

Michael C. Edwards, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.