Could I Have Ruptured a Breast Implant Following Pneumonia? Experiencing Burning And Sharp Pain.

My breast implants are 11 years old. For the past 5 weeks I have had pneumonia in both lungs with blunting at the left costophrenic angle on x-ray. Originally I had some pleuritic chest pain in the area of my right ribcage but this cleared up. My chest is now clear following 4 courses of antibiotics and Prednisolone, but over the last few days I have developed a severe burning sensation in my right breast, with extreme sharp pain in the same area. Could I have ruptured the implant?

Doctor Answers 8

Ruptured implants are unlikely cause of your pain

It is unlikely that pneumonia can cause damage to your implants and even more unlikely that it causes pain. . Please check with your surgeon and the primary care physician what could cause your symptoms. Ruptured implants are typically asymptomatic although sometimes change in shape of your breast can appear. Your plastic surgeon will be able to determine if your symptoms are related to your breast surgery.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Ruptured breast implant?

If a breast implant is saline and develops a leak or ruptures, it will deflate rapidly, within 24 hours, and become very noticeably flat!  If the the implant is silicone, it will not deflate, but may become distorted in appearance.  Pain has NOT been associated with implant rupture.  

A very common condition that occurs with breast implants that does cause pain is COSTOCHONDRITIS.   Think of costochondritis like "tennis elbow" of the ribs.  It is an inflammation (not an infection) of the joint of the ribs where the cartilage and bone are joined together.  There is movement, however slight, of the ribs when we breathe in to allow our lungs to expand and to collapse when we exhale.  If there is a lot of motion at the rib junction, it will cause inflammation and pain.  This is very common in people with pneumonia or other conditions that cause a lot of coughing.  If you take a breast implant and rub in over this junction, it will only exacerbate the problem.  This is why you are having pain.  The treatment for tennis elbow and costochondritis are the same:

  1. Analgesic medication
  2. Anti-inflammatory medication
  3. Immobilization

I usually recommend a prescription anti-inflammatory medication for 2 weeks taken round the clock and repeat for another 2 weeks if no improvement.  Over the counter analgesics usually work well, narcotics are rarely needed.  The most difficult treatment  to follow is the immobilization.  If it is your elbow, just put it in a sling for 2 weeks, but how do you put your ribs in a sling?  Well, you can't.  So, you need to restrict all your activity on the involved side that uses your chest muscles; lifting, pulling, stretching, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, etc.  Wear a good supportive bra, day and night for 2 weeks.  Maybe even taking some medication to decrease your coughing, if present.  The symptoms should subside in 2 weeks, if not, repeat again for another 2 weeks.

Remember your breast implants are sitting right on top of your ribs, so the irritation may re-occur.  If it becomes unbearable you may have to consider removing your implants.

Good Luck!

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Breast problems after pneumonia

all of the answers below are very good.. although pain is not typical of implant failure,  changes in the capsule such as a tear or increased tightness can create pain or unusual sensations.   saline implants almost always deflate rapidly..  silicone can be "silent"    if you have no more fever or redness.  consider seeing your doctor.

getting an Ultrasound and maybe mri.    at ten years   you may need to start considering replacement

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Implant rupture from pneumonia

I sincerely doubt that you ruptured your implants from coughing during and after pneumonia.  I have heard of cracked ribs and sever muscle strains which can give you pain. I would check this out along with a visit to your plastic surgeon for follow up even if only for your own peace of mind.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Cld I Hve Ruptured Breast Implant Following Pneumonia? Experiencing Burning&Sharp Pain.Answer:

If your breast itself is soft and non-tender to the touch, then it is probably not related to your implant. This is most likely a hold over or referred pain from the pleurisy or musculoskeletal strain radiating to the breast. Another thing I have seen in patients is Costochondritis, or an inflammation of the cartilage along the ribs. This can be very tender and often presents as breast pain or chest tenderness. And then there is the always possible “we may never know” and it resolves on its own!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Breast pain?

While you pain may be from the implant, more likely common things happen commonly and it could be related to your pneumonis. Either way, you definitely need to hae it checked out to make sure it is nothing serious.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Implant rupture after pneumonia

There should be no connection between pneumonia and a deflation. However, I do have concern that the bacteria from the pneumonia could have seeded an infection around the implant. If the breast becomes red and tender, this would indicate infection. You should followup with your plastic surgeon and inform your pulmonologist that you have implants as well.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Leaking Breast Implant?

Thank you for the question.

Given  description of “severe burning"  and “extreme sharp pain” you should be evaluated by a physician ASAP.

Also given your history, it is most likely that what you are experiencing is musculoskeletal pain ( for example after severe coughing with  pneumonia).  Rupture of a breast implant would be  evident clinically (if saline)  or may require evaluation with MRI (if  silicone).

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 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.