I have been experiencing pain in my ribcage where my implant connects. I generally sleep on my side but due to pain have been sleeping on my stomach. In last few days I feel like the implant has shifted. Is this a possibility and is there any danger if it has? I have had several operations and the last one a sling was added. I am not in a healthy physical state to have more surgery at this time, so my options would be limited.
Doctor Answers (1)
Shifting Implants following Breast Reconstruction
Problems of shifting breast implants, pains can be due to the fact that in performing a mastectomy for breast cancer the general surgeon often must disrupt the infra-mammary fold that attaches the lower edge of the breast to the chest wall. Then when the breast reconstruction is performed the infra-mammary fold is reconstructed and the skin is usually expanded to create a pocket for the placement of the breast implant. Sometimes the expanded skin flap is not strong enough to hold the breast implant well and AlloDerm is used as a sling to reinforce the skin flap.
The necessary sutures to recreate the infra-mammary fold may cause pain in the chest wall, and the stretched out skin flaps may not support the breast implants adequately, allowing them to shift.
While not for everyone, breast reconstruction with your own fat and skin tissues using a flap from your abdomen, buttocks, or inner thigh might offer a good alternative. These are known as perforator flaps such as the DIEP flap.
Because there are no implants, and your reconstructed breast is your own soft, warm tissues, many of the concerns you raised are not an issue. See nybreastreconstruction.com for information.
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.