Hardening/swelling 1 1/2 Years After Silicone Gel Implants?

I had silicone gel implants put in above the muscle 1 1/2 years ago. Two weeks ago I noticed that the left side suddenly started feeling harder that the right. Then I noticed it looks more swollen on the top as well. It is not any more painful, just hard and swollen on the top of the implant. I also have no swelling in my surrounding lymph nodes. I recently started exercising more frequently, but I have had no trauma. Could this be some thing that will subside on its own?

Doctor Answers 7

Capsular contracture

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From your description, a capsular contracture may be likely. This condition is often progressive and ultimately may require surgery, but often can be corrected by lying face down on the affected side. Please contact your surgeon soon for a evaluation.

Orem Plastic Surgeon

Breast hardening after augmentation

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One of the things we worry about when there is hardening of one breast is capsular contracture. This is the formation of an abnormal capsule and can cause hardening, deformity, and pain. In the abscence of other symptoms, I would first recommend some breast massage. If the hardening is suspicious for capsular contracture and does not get better with massage, you might have to have the implant exchanged. This is performed with removal of the abnormal capsule. The problem can recur but I put my patients on a longer course of antibiotics to try to prevent this. Please consult with your surgeon regarding this issue.

Moises Salama, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 1,881 reviews

Hardening and Swelling of Breast 1.5 Years after Implants

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    Hardening and swelling of one breast 1.5 years after breast implants may indicate capsular contracture.  This needs to be evaluated by your plastic surgeon.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Hardening implants

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If your implants are getting hard then you are developing a capsular contracture. It might be a good idea to discuss this with your surgeon during your exam.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling Following Silicone Gel Implants

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I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing problems with your implants.  Without photos it is difficult to comment as to whether you  are experiencing capsular contracture, but hardening around the implant can be fairly indicative that this may be the case.  If you are experiencing a capsular contracture, there may be different treatment options for you.  A capsulectomy is surgery that removes the stiffened capsule, and the implant may be replaced during this procedure for best results. Your doctor may consider putting the implant under the muscle if you do require surgery. Some plastic surgeons also use alloderm for patients who have experienced a capsular contracture, which may be preventative for future contractures. 

A capsulotomy is surgery to loosen the scar tissue by slicing it, which allows for expansion. This can sometimes help with problem. 

Surgery may not always be needed, and at times there are other methods that use massage, ultrasound, and medications to make the stiff capsule relax. Please see your plastic surgeon about what options are best for you. Good luck to you.

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Hardening of Gel Implants

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It sounds like you may be developing a capsular contracture.  I recommend an evaluation with your surgeon.  There are some non-operative things you can try.  However, sometimes surgery is required to address this condition.  Good Luck.

Hardening/swelling 1 1/2 Years After Silicone Gel Implants?

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A photo would really help and likely give you more useful responses. 

This sounds like a capsular contracture. My best advice would be to see your surgeon for an evaluation. There are a number of non-operative strategies for treatment that can be reviewed.

Please do consider posting a photo. Thanks for your question, all the best.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.