How Do I Know if my Silicone Implants Are Not Leaking After Reconstruction?

I had a bi lateral mastectomy 7/11/12 with expanders and on 11/4/12 had 800cc natrelle silicone. I am having a lot of pain in left breast and under armpit. It is painful to the touch. But my right one is not bad at all. I do not have cancer it was prophylactic. I am 33yrs old.

Doctor Answers 5

Silicone implant rupture

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Pain after mastectomy and breast reconstruction with implants can be from many things. Often silicone implant rupture is silent, or without symptoms, and found on imaging.The best way to determine the source of pain is a history, physical exam and imaging, likely an MRI. 3 months out from surgery, aside from implant rupture, it could be early capsular contracture or scar tissue, infection, muscular pain or costochondritis, or something else entirely. Implant rupture is not common this early (though possible), and implant rupture would not commonly cause pain to the touch. I recommend making an appointment with your plastic surgeon sooner rather than later to make a diagnosis.

Implant rupture after mastectomy

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I am sorry to hear of your troubles after your breast reconstruction.  It is oftentimes difficult to determine if there is a rupture of a silicone implant by clinical examination.  Sometimes the first signs are a change in shape or capsular contracture.  It would be unusual for you to have a rupture this soon after placement of these implants at the second stage of your reconstruction.  Typically, rupture does not present with pain.  If there is any concern, an MRI would be warranted to image the area.  You are only a couple of months postoperative, and this could be due to swelling/recent surgery, scarring, etc.  Regardless, an evaluation by your plastic surgeon should be done in order to evaluate reasons for your pain and plan of action, and to ensure that it is not due to more pressing issues such as infection, hematoma, etc.   Thank you for the question!  Hope that this helps!

Pain after breast reconstruction

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Pain after breast reconstruction can be from alot of different things. It is best to be seen in person. A silicone leak does not usually present with pain unless you had trauma.

Leak/rupture of a silicone implant

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It is often difficult to tell on an exam if a silicone implant is ruptured, but if there is concern, an MRI and/or ultrasound can be helpful. You recently had surgery and thus the pain could be due to other issues such as infection or scar tissue. You should discuss this with your surgeon and be evaluated. Best of luck.

M. Susann Bedford, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Silicone leak in breast reconstruction

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one way to tell if the implant is leaking is to do an MRI.  it's not perfect, but has a high sensitivity.  The pain could be due to multiple issues including contracture, nerve impingement with suture, or scar tissue.

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