22 Year Old Implants with One Very Firm Breast: Is There a Way to Soften It?

I have silicone implants which are 22 years old. One feels natural the other is firm. There is some calcium deposits on both, but the firmness has been there for much longer.Any ideas to make this one soft again? I'm sorry but I don't feel a photo is needed for an answer.

Doctor Answers 12

Breast Implant Heartening?

Thank you for the question.

Based on your history and description it would be in your best interest to visit personally with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. You may need to consider removal/replacement of the older implants to achieve the results you are looking for. At the very least, you should consider MRI evaluation of the implants to rule out leakage.

I hope this helps.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

A firm breast with 22 year old silicone breast implants.

The most likely cause of the firm  breast is what's called "capsular contracture".  This is basically scar tissue that forms around the implant.  One of the potential causes of capsular contracture is rupture or leaking of the silicone breast implant.  A leaking implant can sometimes be detected by ultrasound or mammogram.  An MRI can also diagnose a leaking implant but these are expensive.  The best thing to do would be to have a consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The most likely recommendation would be to have both implants removed and replaced as well as removing the scar tissue around the implant.

M. Keith Hanna, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Severe Hardness of breast implants with calcium deposits in breasts are often indication of Ruptured Implants

Severe contracture of implant with hardness of breasts, especially with accompanying calcium deposits is often indication of rupture of implants.  This requires surgery and removal.  Don't sit on it. It does not get better with waiting. Find a good plastic surgeon ASAP 

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Breast Implant Capsular Contracture: Surgery for old implants

If you have had your breast implants for 22 years and now have hardness in only one, there is really no options other than a secondary operation which would involve removal of the implants and replacement with new implants if you want them and removal of the scar tissue around the breast implants (capsulectomy). Sometimes if the implants are plasced above the muscle, a transposition under the muscle will help alleviate the risk of scarring. Silicone breast implants have changed since you have last had them placed and the operation is very straightforward and predictable in the right plastic surgeons hands. I hope this helps. Dr. Trussler

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Firm Silicone Breast Implant

More than likely, a "capsular contracture" or excessive scar tissue has formed around your implant. It is also possible, given the age of the implant, that it is ruptured. I would advise that you see an experienced plastic surgeon for an evaluation. It may be as simple as removing the implant and scar tissue and replacing this with a new implant.

Richard Ellenbogen, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

22 Year Old Implants with One Very Firm Breast: Is There a Way to Soften It?

You are right you do not need to post a photo. But you need an operation to  remove these "old" implants and clean out the capsule and calcium if possible, than have either a saline or silicone replacement. Not a very difficult issue to fix. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Hard 22 year old implants

It is very likely that your implant has ruptured.  The hardness is due to scar tissue that has formed around the implant giving you a capsular contracture.  There is nothing short of surgery that can fix this problem.  The best solution is to have the scar tissue removed along with the implant.  You can then either have new implants placed , have a breast lift, or do nothing more.  

Jeffrey E. Kyllo, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

The most common cause of hardening is implant leak.

Your implants are 22 years old and most probably there is implant leakage. You will need bilateral implant and capsule removal. You will have the option of saline implants,silicone implants or no implants after removal of the old implants. You can get MRI to check for the leakage,but that would be waste of your time and your money.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Capsular contractures

You sound like you have dense capsular contracture.  The only solution to this is surgery.  After the dense scar tissue and the likely ruptured implants are removed you can either be done with implants, replace them with or without a lift.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Firm Breast With Older Silicone Implants

If your silicone implants are 22 years old, there is a fairly high probability that there is a ruptured implant, especially on the firm side.  A mammogram or ultrasound study may show this.  An MRI is much more sensitive but also much more expensive and is not 100% accurate.  If you are concerned about the degree of firmness that you have in this breast, you should have the implant removed as well as the scar tissue and have replacement with a newer generation silicone implant.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.