My Right Implant Suddenly Became Hard, Tender, and Swollen. Any Ideas Why?

I've had my saline (under the muscle) breast implants for 5 yrs w/out any complications, however, after playing mud volleyball yesterday I noticed my right implant to be tender, very hard, and swollen. I don't remember doing anything that would have caused serious trauma but I had been drinking at the time. Today I've been throwing up and I'm feeling shaky- I'm assuming this is just the hangover- but am slightly worried its connected to whatever is making my implant hard. Any idea why?

Doctor Answers 5

Hematoma possible

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Sounds like you may need to see either your plastic surgeon or your primary care doctor.  Either a hematoma or an infection may be possible with the hematoma more likely since it was a quick and sudden onset.  Either way, the nausea and vomiting as well as the sudden change in your breast should be evaluated.  Your primary care doctor may elect to get a CT scan or ultrasound of your breast.  If your symptoms are improving quickly and consistently you may elect to manage the problem conservatively.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Hard and swollen breast

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The first two things that come to mind are hematoma or bleeding in the capsule around the implant which can happen from certain activities, or infection which could also occur "out of the blue", but is less likely.  You need to see a plastic surgeon and have this evaluated as either may require treatment.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon

Changes in breast

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You might be experience some scar tissue forming around your implant.  This could be the start of a process called capsular contracture.  But please see a board certified plastic surgeon to an evaluation. 


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If you have not had any complications for the past 5 years and all this started out of the blue I would call your Surgeon and have him take a look. You don’t want to let this go just in case there is something wrong.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

My Right Implant Suddenly Became Hard, Tender, and Swollen

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A number of possibilities come to mind.

  • capsular contracture, which can happen rather suddenly and belatedly
  • trauma, perhaps unrecognized while drinking, with subsequent bleeding and hematoma, or perhaps from severe vomitting.
  • seroma 

Any of these may require treatment, so give your surgeon a call and set up an appointment to be evaluated. Thanks for the question, best wishes. 

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.