Some symptoms and signs may indicate problems associated with breast implants. However, just remember that most implant ruptures are picked up incidentally on mammograms or ultrasounds. On the other hand, some of the symptoms and signs mentioned below may not be due to the breast implant, but rather a possible disease within the breast tissue itself.
Know where the discomfort is coming from
Breast discomfort, nipple soreness and sensitivity and breast pain are common complaints from patients with breast implants. Many attribute it directly to the implants, but breast implant surgery patients need to know that, idiopathic nipple and breast pain is very common in women in general. If the discomfort is not associated with hardening, shifting or changes in the implant shape, a simple ultrasound or MRI can provide reassurance that the implant is intact, and may also allow detection of any abnormal breast tissue overlying the implant.
Check for lumps
Breast lumps are often a concerning feature in patients with or without breast implants. In individuals that have old liquid silicone breast implants, sometimes pockets of silicones seep into the breast tissue which leads to the formation of hard lumps. These can be detected and differentiated from breast cancer lumps via imaging techniques such as ultrasound, mammogram and MRI.
Change in breast shape between the two breasts
Breast implants can move on the chest wall, or capsular contracture can push an implant upwards. This often occurs over time slowly, thus can be difficult for some to notice. However, if you find that your bra sits crooked because your breasts are not at the same level, or if it doesn’t fit because one is sitting a little further into the armpit, then it may be time to see your plastic surgeon. Don’t forget; sometimes pre-existing natural breast asymmetry can become more evident after weight changes or even hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancies or menopause. This means you may need a change in the size of your implants to correct the difference between the two sides.
Please contact your doctor or seek a referral to an accredited plastic surgeon at a reputable clinic like breast surgery clinic Waverley House, if your breasts exhibit any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice swelling
Breast swelling is very rarely associated with implants. This can be associated with trauma to the chest wall, or it may be spontaneously with no precipitating event. The former requires urgent surgery, the latter requires further investigations into the cause of the swelling. Swelling can be due to fluid around the implant or infection. Swelling can sometimes be associated with an abnormality in the breast tissue and need to be thoroughly assessed.
Breast skin or nipple discharge need to be taken seriously. If there are any discharge from an open sore on the breast or the nipple, please see your doctor. This could be implant-related or associated with diseases of the breast tissue or nipple, which may not necessarily be cancer.