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?

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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.

Popping Sound 6 Years Post Op Breast Augmentation

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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.

High altitudes

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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.

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.