Can Implants "Crush You" and Cause Breathing Problems?

i heard a couple stories where the patients who hated thier implants said the implants made it hard for them to breathe or gave them anxiety attacks. i plan on going up a cup size and that is one of my fears that it will affect my breathing.

Doctor Answers (10)

Breast Implants Will Not Restrict Breathing

+2

Hi there-

Immediately after surgery, it is not uncommon for patients to say they experience a feeling of pressure on their chest, with mild to moderate discomfort when they try to take a deep breath.

This should not be confused, however, with INABILITY to take a deep breath... Breathing happens entirely inside the chest, when the diaphragm moves up and down, causing the lungs to expand and fill with air. This is possible because we have a rigid rib cage in which this mechanism is enclosed. Because breast implants do not alter the rib cage or the diaphragm, there is not a possibility that having implants would change the way you breathe or actually restrict breathing somehow- although as mentioned, early in the postoperative period they can cause some mild discomfort with deep breathing.

Very rarely, when implants become very old and affected by thick scar tissue (capsular contracture), discomfort of varying severity and character may be experienced as well, but I have never met a patient who described this as a difficulty breathing.


Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Breast implants causing breathing problems or difficulty taking a deep breathe

+1

Early in the post operative period patients will often describe a chest tightness and difficulty taking a deep breath but this generally resolves within a few days.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Breathing problems after breast augmentation

+1

Initially after a breast augmentation, particularly if placed under the muscle, some women describe a "tightness" that makes it difficult to take a deep breath. However, this subsides after the healing phase is over. This is not an inability to breath, but a restriction of taking a deep breath due to pain. Implants themselves do not "crush" the chest.

Implants do not cause anxiety attacks. Patients who have issues with anxiety may attribute there attacks to many "triggers" and implants may become one of these triggers for them.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Breast Implants CANNOT "Crush You"

+1
Breast Augmentation is a Cosmetic Surgery and as such it SHOULD be performed on physically and mentally healthy women. If operating on patients with known breathing problems (Asthma for example), then an evaluation and clearance with an Internist should probably be obtained. The VAST majority of tightness after surgery is due to anxiety NOT due to "crushing" by heavy implants. ANY shortness of breath after surgery should be taken seriously with an examination and, if needed, chest X-ray. Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
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Implants "Crush You" and Cause Breathing Problems

+1

It is possible but VERY rare for that to occur following augmentation. Some patient are very thin chested and poor pulmonary function so those are the types I would recommend a pre operative pulmonary clearance. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
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Anxiety, not implants, can cause long-term breathing problems

+1

Long-term breathing problems are not related to breast implants, even large ones.  I think anxiety is more likely the cause of shortness of breath for some women.

Now, it is possible to have some feeling of chest tightness right after surgery, as you are swollen and the chest muscles haven't fully stretched yet.  I often prescribe a muscle relaxer to help that tightness.  After a few days you shouldn't have any feeling of shortness of breath.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
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Trouble breathing after breast implants

+1

If you have trouble breathing immediately after implants you need to let your surgeon know right away since there may be a rare medical emergency.  However, during implant placement, the muscle is lifted and stretched to allow placement of the implant.  This muscle stretching may cause some discomfort which is usually alleviated with muscle relaxers for the first couple days after surgery.  To truly have effects on breathing, you would have to have extraordinarily large implants placed - as stated above.  Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
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Breast implants

+1

Breast implants may cause some chest pain initially post-op because of swelling and the actual procedure.  But, they should not cause breathing problems.  Anxiety and other issues can cause breathing problems.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
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Long Term Breathing Problems NOT Normal After Augmentation

+1

Initially after a breast augmentation, some women will describe a tight feeling in their chest, and an inability to take a deep breath.  However, this is usually only in the initial healing phase, and goes away within the first week or so.  As the tissues relax, the sensation goes away.  The implants would have to be extremely large to cause any sort of pressure effect on your breathing and chest wall mechanics.  I hope this helps.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
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Implants do not cause breathing problems

+1

Breast implants would have to be truly enormous - larger than any that are manufactured - to cause the kind of problems you describe. People with anxiety disorders may misattribute the cause of their problem, but there is no physical reason for breast implants causing breathing difficulty.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
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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.