18-yr old saline, sub-pec implants with left breast and arm pain.

I have 18-year old saline, sub-pec implants. For the past several months, I've been having a dull achy pain in the left breast along with pain in my upper left arm. I am very physically active and an avid runner. I replaced my sports bras recently to ones that provide more compression, but this hasn't helped. I had a breast MRI in April that was negative. I need to see my plastic surgeon and discuss implant replacement. Wondering if this sort of situation can happen with old implants.

Doctor Answers 3

Breast pain with old saline implants

If your breast implants are soft and freely mobile, I'm not sure implant replacement will improve your pain.  The most common cause of breast pain with old implants (saline or silicone) is capsular contracture, which is an overgrowth of scar tissue around the implant.  With capsular contracture, the implant typically feels too firm, may look too perky, and can be associated with pain.  If this is the case, removing your current implant including the scar tissue around it and replacing it with a new implant may help.  Go see your plastic surgeon for an exam and discuss the issues you're having.


This pain could be due to the breast implant but there are other explanation as well such as a tight pec minor, early capsular contracture, strained pec major, etc. Your next step should be to have an evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in breast implants. Several different implant options have become available since your saline implants were placed 18 years ago.

Pain from old breast implants

It is not possible to diagnose your problem without a thorough examination in person.  There are many possibilities for your pain, one of which could be related to your breast implants.  Your implants are 18 years old and saline, it is time to either get new implants (upgrade to silicone) or just have them removed.  Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast implant surgery to assure the best possible results.
Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 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.