Could High Altitude Be Causing Changes in Breast Implants Like Popping Sounds?

I have had silicone breast implants for 6 years. I have lived at sea level and at an altitude of 9000 feet and have not had any issues. I have experienced crepitus, popping sensations, and gurgling sounds at the suture lines under my breasts for 2 days when lifting my arms or moving my breasts. I drove from sea level to altitude but this is nothing new for me in the past 6 years.

Doctor Answers 3

Altitude and Breast Implant “Popping” Sounds?

Thank you for the question.

I do not think that the “sound effects” that you are experiencing are related to the breast implants or silicone material itself.  It is more likely that the noises are created by  movement/cracking of the breast implant capsule. Crepitus, at this stage, would be a very unusual ( and potentially concerning) finding;  this is usually seen immediately postoperatively caused by air tracking in the subcutaneous tissues. There is no breast implant related reason why you should have this phenomenon occurring at this time.  If there is air escaping your respiratory system and being trapped in the subcutaneous tissues,  causing the crepitus, you should be evaluated by a physician ASAP.  Chest x-ray may also be indicated.

I hope this helps.


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews

Popping Sound 6 Years Post Op Breast Augmentation

When a patient experiences sounds from the breasts, often it is early in the recovery period from breast augmentation surgery.  This is normal and is a reflection of some of the irrigation fluid that has remained in the breast pocket.  Over a short time this irrigation fluid becomes absorbed, and the sounds go away.  Your situation is different in that the timing is 6 years post-op.   Fluid in the breast pocket is still likely the reason for these sounds. However, newly accumulated fluid in a breast pocket over a year after surgery is called a delayed seroma and should be investigated.  A breast ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis of seroma.  Delayed seromas are associated in the majority of cases with having textured gel implants.  Delayed seromas can also be associated with a rare implant-associated cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma.  I would suggest following-up with your original plastic surgeon so that he/she can evaluate you for these new symptoms.

Paul Fortes, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

High altitudes

Crepitus is often felt /heard initially after surgery when you go from low altitude to high altitude.  It should not occur at 6 years after surgery. This could be something else, and without an exam it is hard to say.

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

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