I Had Breast Augmentation 16 Years Ago, Now Left Breast is Sagging and Nipple is Tender

I had my A size increased to large B/small C cup 16 years ago. I've never had any complications during recovery, but over the last year I've noticed my left breast is droopy, with a more flattened profile, then the right. When I lean forward, or to the right I feel "numb?spot" under the breast, and it hangs more conical. When I raise my arms to shoulder height, both breasts look the same. Also have recently been experiencing nipple sensitivity. Has my pectoral muscle pocket opened up. Help.

Doctor Answers 7

I Had Breast Augmentation 16 Years Ago, Now Left Breast is Sagging and Nipple is Tender

Your description has me concerned you are developing a capsular contracture.  It would be best to get this evaluated by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

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Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

16 year old implants

Although it is difficult to know exactly what is causing your current concerns, it sounds like some capsular contracture formation and changes of the breast associated aging. Your best option would be to see a certified plastic surgeon for a thorough evaluation. This will give you all the necessary information to decide what would be best for the future with respect to your breasts and implants.

Leslie D. Kerluke, MD (retired)
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

16 years status post breast augmentation

It is difficult to diagnose your problem without an exam.  You may be developing a capsule around your breast which could lead to tenderness and deformity.  You should see a board certified Plastic Surgeon for an evaluation to direct you in the proper care.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

16 years after augmentation with new changes--what they mean.

Though you have given a fair amount of information, a consultation with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon will elucidate additional facts. These should include:

   1)  Saline or silicone? 16 years ago saline implants were more common following the US silicone restrictions. "Droopy, with a more flattened profile" may indicate partial deflation from leakage, but you also add that with arms raised, "both breasts look the same." This would argue for no deflation (or silicone implants).

   2)  Numbness under the breast in certain positions may not have any importance to the diagnosis here, as this area has probably always had decreased sensation, and now that you are "tuned in" to these recent changes, your awareness is different. I believe this could be a "red herring" that has nothing to do with your concerns, but, again, examination in person will help. It could also be that traction on a specific sensory nerve to this area is increased when you bend over, actually causing what you report to be true.

   3)  Sensitivity in your nipple may be indicative of development of capsular contracture causing traction on the nerve supply to the nipple, in turn increasing sensitivity. Capsular contracture after 16 years occurs only in the setting of a trauma causing enough bleeding to start a scar capsule to form, OR minor trauma coinciding with bacterial seeding, such as from dental work. Your consultant will want to review possible scenarios with you where capsular contracture may have begun.

   4)  Trauma would be the only way your well-healed implant pocket could "open up," so here again, discussion about possible situations where your left breast may have been injured will need to be reviewed to see if this has any bearing at all on your other concerns. The fact that you have this concern perhaps implies an injury or trauma to the breast, yes?

As you can see, much more information, as well as examination and actual visualization of your breasts in several anatomic positions, is needed to help guide your surgeon to a proper diagnosis and recommendation. See a board-certified plastic surgeon and put your worries to rest! Good luck!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Nipple tenderness and shape change after breast augmentation

Any new change in breast appearance or sensitivity (as well as any changes in how the breast feels) should always be evaluated by your physician.  Breast tissue abnormalities should be ruled out with a physical exam and mammogram, if you have not had one recently.   Implants are not lifetime devices, so it is possible that you have a leaking implant and/or scar tissue around the implant that is changing. 

Breast Augmentation

It is hard to be sure without seeing photos or having an examination. but it sounds like you may have developed a capsular contracture on that breast. Consult your surgeon. With an examination, they will be able to diagnose if that is the case and discuss with you what options are available. Implants have improved greatly, so revision may be the way to go.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Change in breast shape 16 years after augmentation

It is difficult to give you an answer on the information provided and without photos. Do you have saline or silicone gel implants? If the breast seems flatter to you, I assume you have saline implant which deflated. You probably have a capsular contracture as well. You need to see a board certified plastic surgeon for a consultation/examination to determine what is going on with the implants and how to correct this. Depending on your age, you might need a mammogram. This will be helpful to your surgeon. 

George Marosan, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 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.