Pain & Discomfort after Breast Implants

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More than other cosmetic surgeries, such as face or neck lifts, breast implants can cause pain or discomfort after surgery and after recovery. This can be due to the positioning of the implant and/or whether you have a silicon or saline implant.

Position of the Implant

Post-surgery pain is unavoidable but it can be controlled through medications prescribed by your surgeon. The intensity of this pain can also be affected by what procedure you underwent in your breast enlargement surgery. If your implant was positioned in the subglandular then post-surgery you have less pain than if you have your implant positioned submuscular; however, you have to balance this with the side effects that such a position produces: a subglandular silicon implant has a higher risk of capsular contracture and it influences the effectiveness of mammography. Submuscular implants, on the other hand, create more pain post-surgery, but have less of a risk of capsular contracture and have less of an effect on the clearness of mammograms. You must consider these differences in short term and long term gain when thinking of having breast implant surgery.

Silicone or Saline Implants

Saline implants are ostensibly better for you, because the fluid (salt water) is a natural liquid that does the body no real damage; however, saline implants are reported by some as not being as good a quality as its silicon counterpart.  Silicone implants have their own (supposed) downsides though. They have been reported by women as causing a number of problems post-surgery and post-recovery. It has been claimed that muscle pain, swollen and painful joints, rashes, and even hair loss have been caused by silicon ruptures; but, with scientific investigations finding no evidence for the claims, these allegations are currently unsubstantiated.

Capsular Contracture

The pain and discomfort that can be experienced because of silicone implants comes from shrinking scar tissue. Scar tissue forms around the implant (something that usually happens when a foreign object is inserted into the body, such as metal support rod and hip replacements). When this scar capsule shrinks, this is known as capsular contraction, and if it shrinks too fast or significantly then the breast can harden and become painful; however, a textured silicone shell can reduce the chances of this happening, so do talk to your surgeon about the possibility of this in your surgery.


Pain and discomfort can also be caused by rupturing of a silicone implant. If silicone gel escapes the implant and the scar capsule, sore lumps can occur. These are known as ‘siliconomas’ or ‘granulomas.’ Sometimes, though rarely, these siliconomas can spread to your armpit or breast muscle. If they become painful it is possible to have them removed. Unfortunately, your implant may have to be removed too, though it can easily be replaced. This is one reason why some medical professionals recommend saline implants over silicone implants.

Nipple Sensation

Nipple sensation can be increased after implant surgery. This is called ‘hypersensitivity’ and it can be uncomfortable, verging on very painful.

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