Problem with my Implant? Muscle Tear or Capsular Contracture?

I had an anchor lift with implants 3.5 years ago. 2 months ago I felt I tore my pectoral muscle trying pull ups at the gym. No workouts since then but the pain is getting TERRIBLE now radiates to my shoulder and neck and is constant. My breast is swollen and now breast is about 1/4th inch higher than the other. Made apt with surgeon finally week 8. He said it could be contracture or just a tear. I am to keep going to ortho doc and PT follow up withnsurgeon in a month. Any ideas what I should do?

Doctor Answers 8

See your surgeon asap

Please take it easy and do not do any physically demanding activities to minimize the risk of further damage. All you can do is wait, but I recommend you see your surgeon as soon as possible. Best of luck.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Muscle trauma or contracture

You can usually tell the difference with contractures usually not hurting until well established with deformity versus acute symptoms following an event you clearly recall.  Regardless, you do need a face to face visit with your surgeon.  In the meantime, resting that side and anti-inflammatories are simple things you can do while waiting.  Wishing you the best...

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Pain in the breast

Based on your history, a muscle strain or tear would be the #1 diagnosis.  Rest - no gym at all -, use heat, and anti-inflammatories, and give it about 4-6 weeks to heal.  Follow-up with your surgeons, as you mentioned.


Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Muscle tear vs capsular contracture

It sounds like by your description that you had a muscle tear.  A capsular contracture is a clinical diagnosis and an exam would often be definitive.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Possible muscular tear following a breast augmentation and lift

The medical history that you give seems to point to a musculoskeletal problem and not a capsular contracture.  With rest and time it is likely to get better.  If the tightness of the breast gets worse then it could be a capsular contracture.  Your plan to follow up with your plastic surgeon and an orthopedic surgeon seem reasonable.   

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Muscle Tear or Capsular Contracture

Thank you for the question. It sounds like a musculoskeletal problem and not capsular contracture. It may be helpful to get an MRI before you follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Lisa M. DiFrancesco, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Muscle tear after exercise?

Dear Liz,

Thank you for your question.  It seems unlikely that this is a problem with the implant as it occurred immediately after straining a muscle during pull-ups.  It sounds more like a muscle tear.  Pain from a capsular contraction is more gradual in onset and not immediate such as this.  An MRI will identify if you tore a muscle or if there are any problems with the implant.

Best Wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Problem with my Implant? Muscle Tear or Capsular Contracture?

This sounds like a problem with the musculoskeletal system rather than something related to the breast surgery. My advice would be to continue with physical therapy and orthopedic evaluation. 

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.