What Can Cause Pain/discomfort in Breast 9 Years After Breast Augmentation? Do I Need to Replace my Saline Implants?

I have had pain/discomfort in my left breast steadily for over 3 mos. I have saline implants (under the muscle) for 9 yrs now. There's no apparent deflation or hardening. Mammogram & ultrasound results came back normal (despite some calcification). The doctor said he did not see anything wrong with my implant and it could possibly be costachondritis. But the pain does not go away w/ NSAIDS & is in my breast. My surgeon is retired and the office is 6 hrs away. What steps should I be taking? MRI?

Doctor Answers 8

Musculoskeletal Strain

We occasionally see patients who develop breast pain several years after breast augmentation surgery.In the vast majority of patients this type of pain isn’t related to breast implants unless capsular contractures are present.Instead, this type of pain is usually related to musculoskeletal strain.
In the vast majority of cases, conservative management is appropriate and results in resolution of symptoms. In the short term, analgesics and muscle relaxants may be appropriate as well.
If this pain fails to respond to conservative management further investigation is appropriate.In some cases this may require mammography and possibly MRI studies.Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon, general surgeon or possibly a pain management specialist.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Breast pain 9 years after saline-filled breast implants

One of the advantages of the saline-filled breast implant is that you don't have to wonder whether it's intact or run any tests on it. It's either obviously intact or it's obviously not. In your case you can be sure it's fine. From your description you can also be sure the problem is not in the capsule around the implant as this is not contracted or abnormal feeling. Therefore the pain must be coming from the breast or the chest wall or the tissues around the breast even if nothing can be seen or felt or demonstrated on tests. It is not that uncommon for women to have pain in or around their breast (s) that is not diagnosable or specifically treatable. I would treat the pain for symptoms and follow up with breast tissue checks or whatever test is recommended for the breast tissue if the problem persists. Another option to check into endocrine or GYN hormonal levels. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Breast pain


Once your pain has been worked up (it sounds like you've done this) and there is no other medical cause found, I would recommend have implant removal with capsulectomies. Sometimes the capsule can harden and can cause discomfort. 9 years is approaching the time that many women will have their implants replaced, so having them replaced with excision of the capsule could relieve your discomfort.

However, there is no guarantee that this will relieve your pain. But if you've ruled other causes out, it's a good next step.  Discuss this with a plastic surgeon in your area and he/she will be able to go over all the options with you. 

Best wishes,

Dr. Blagg

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Breast pain nine years after Augmentation

There are many causes of breast pain, most of them are benign.  A capsular contracture of an implant can be painful, but if your implant is soft, movable and in good position you do not have a capsule.  Inflamation of a rib or the chest wall can cause discomfort, as in a costo chondritis as you mention.  Cysts of the breast can be painful and can vary with hormonal swings.  Caffiene can trigger breast pain ,either in beverages or choclates.  If your implants remain fine I suggest you go to your gynecologist or to a genral surgeon specializing in breast to get to the root of your problem.  Good luck!

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Breast Pain after Breast Implants

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to diagnose the source of your discomfort without an in-person examination.  I would recommend that you schedule an examination with your plastic surgeon to ensure that the source of your pain is correctly diagnosed.

Suzanne M. Quardt, MD
Palm Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Breast pain

At this time, I would certainly NOT remove the implants.  You need further evaluation and I think a MRI is the next step.  Try to localize the pain to your breast, the chest wall or the pocket of the implant.  You need to discover factors that precipitate the pain or make it worse.  Your signs and symptoms may lead to the cause.

Best of Luck,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.


Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Pain in the breasts 9 years after augmentation probably has nothing to do with breast implants.

I doubt your breast pain is related to the implants.  If your surgeon is retired, make an appointment to see a plastic surgeon that is not and get his opinion. 

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Breast pain after 9 years with implants

There are many different causes of breat pain.  One common cause is tightness of the capsule areound the implants.  An exam would be helpful to determine possible causes.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.