Firmness in breast
When saline implants leak, they will deflate and become smaller. The new gels may not show any signs of leakage. If you have a hard lump, please see your family physician or plastic surgeon. You may have some scar tissue or capsule formation occurring, or there may be another problem. Please do not ignore the lump.
Depends on the implant
These do not sound like signs of leaking from a saline implant. However, they could be associated with leaking from a silicone implant. You need to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon, and possibly get an MRI if you have silicone implants. Either way, it is always best to have someone examine you if you are having problems.
Soreness and lumps should always be addressed
By now, I hope your problem is resolved and that you went to see your doctor when you identified that you had a problem. In general, silicone gel filled implants need an MRI X-ray to determine if they are leaking. With saline implants, you'll know because your breasts will return to their original size and you won't fill out your clothes symmetrically.
Signs of leaking breast implants
Thank you for your question. If you have saline implant, it is very easy to tell since a rupture causes the saline to leak out and the body simply reabsorbs the "salt water". In addition the appearance of the breast rapidly decreases in size since the water is absorbed very quickly.
Silicone implants are a little more difficult to tell if they have ruptured. A ruptured silicone implant may not cause a misshapen appearance to the breast or hard lumps since the gel is cohesive and should not "leak" out. However, I have seen ruptured implants cause a "capsular contracture" which can cause the hardness you are speaking about. The best way to diagnose a ruptured implant is with an MRI. The FDA recommends an MRI every 2-3 years after a breast augmentation. However, most women do not opt to have MRIs since they are an "out-of-pocket" expense. Since you ARE having symptoms, I would recommend visiting your plastic surgeon to make a decision about ordering an MRI.
Signs of Leak
If you have saline breast implants, it's easy to tell if they are leaking. They deflate quickly and the body harmlessly absorbs the saline so that breast looks deflated and significantly smaller then the side that is not deflated. This usually happens over a period of a few days.
If you have silicone based implants then it is a litter harder to tell. The new implants don't leak everywhere so they usually present as some change in the look of feel of the implant. A breast that was completely normal for several years may begin to change in appearance or become harder or more tender. However, because the volume remains the same, there usually isn't any obvious deflation. The only sure way to tell is to get an ultrasound or MRI.
If you suspect a leak then you should see a board certified plastic surgeon to determine if you need to get further testing. If there is leak or rupture then that implant needs to be removed and exchanged for another one.
Hard lump in the breast
Changes in the feel and shape of the implants can indicate a rupture or the development of a capsular contracture. Saline implants will deflate if ruptured but it is often difficult to tell if a silicone implant is ruptured.
Changes in the breast and new lumps of tenderness should be evaluated by a physician.
Signs of Leaking Breast Implants
If your implants are saline then they will decrease in size fairly quickly if they are ruptured. Gel implants can be more difficult to evaluate for rupture. What you describe is not a typical story for rupture but closer to capsular contracture. They best evaluation for rupture for gel implants is an MRI. Visit your plastic surgeon to discuss the problem and be evaluated.
SIGNS OF LEAKING IMPLANTS
The occurrence of implant leakage has
reduced over the years as implants have been improved. However, it can still occur especially if the
chest area suffers any sort of trauma.
When a saline implant ruptures or leaks, there is a notable and
sometimes instant deflation of the breast making a leak easier to detect. When a silicone gel implant develops a leak
it is not as easy to detect. The
silicone gel inside the implant is very cohesive and so does not create a
noticeable deflation of the breast.
Ruptures or leaks of silicone implants typically require a CT scan to
confirm. If there is a rupture, the
implant will need to be removed along with any residual implant material and a
new implant placed. After 4 years, it is
unusual to still experience soreness after breast augmentation. Another concern is that implants should not
feel hard. Hardening of an implant could
be a sign of a postoperative complication called capsular contracture. Capsular contracture can only be confirmed by
a physical exam so it is difficult to say definitively what you are
experiencing. I recommend scheduling
some time with your plastic surgeon as capsular contracture is progressive and
will worsen over time.
Be well and good luck!
Signs of Leaking Breast Implants
The appearance of a leaking implant depends on whether the implant is a saline or silicone gel one. A leaking saline implant causes the affected breast to rapidly loose volume (the "flat tire" effect), which is very obviously. A leaking silicone gel implant is not as obvious. It may present with hardening of the affected breast, a shape change in the breast, or no change at all ("silent rupture"). When a silicone gel implant rupture or leak is suspected, a breast ultrasound or MRI may help identify the leak.
You must see your doctor or plastic surgeon to confirm.
If you have saline implants, you would know if they were
leaking because your breast size would deflate. If you have silicone implants,
a leak can be more difficult to detect. However, the hard lump you feel may be
a symptom of capsular contraction. The only way to know for sure is to see your
physician or your plastic surgeon. Best of luck.