Breast Augmentation Pain Causes and Relief

Breast augmentation pain can be caused by several factors like infection, scar tissue, and cancer. Treatments include prescription medications, removal of breast implants, and treatments for specific causes.

Woman covering her breast

Are you experiencing breast augmentation pain? In 2018 breast implants were the most common type of cosmetic surgery in the USA. After having surgery, there are several causes of pain, including infection, scar tissue, and breast cancer. While some pain is to be expected after breast augmentation surgery, different degrees are experienced, so it’s critical to know whether or not the pain is normal or the sign of complications.

What Is Breast Augmentation Surgery All About?

This is a medical procedure that’s usually done for cosmetic purposes. This includes changes to the size, shape, or texture of the breast. There are various reasons women opt to have the procedure done. They include weight loss, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

In other cases, the goal is to make the breasts symmetrical/balanced. Studies show that nearly 90% of all breasts are asymmetrical in some way. However, if the breasts are significantly unbalanced a woman might decide to have breast implants.  

Another main cause of breast augmentation surgery is “constructive” surgery. This is sometimes done as part of breast cancer treatment. Cosmetic surgery is more common, although sometimes reconstruction surgery is done.

Some studies show that women can experience various benefits from breast augmentation surgery besides physical changes to the breasts. They include improved self-esteem, body image, and sexual self-concept. Such psychological benefits can be just as important as physical ones.

There are three main types of implants. One is saline implants, which contain ingredients like saltwater. The solution is contained in a silicone shell. The shape/firmness of the implants is based on how much saltwater is added to the implants.

One benefit of this type of implant is the saltwater is naturally absorbed by the body if it leaks. This makes it a safer option in these situations.

Then there are silicone gel-filled breast implants. The gel is also contained within a hard silicone shell. A difference from the saline implants is if the shell breaks the gel can’t be absorbed by the body. This option requires more checkups versus saline implants. Ultrasound and MRI scans can check the units.

Then there are “alternative composite” implants. They can be filled with materials like soy oil and string. This type of breast implant is less common than saline/gel-filled implants. However, it’s an alternative you can consider.

Breast Augmentation Pain: Causes

Infection

This can happen due to various causes. They include an implant that breaks/leaks. In the case it has fungus/bacteria then this can cause complications. It will require the breast implant to be removed immediately. As with other infections, it’s important to treat them effectively so the situation doesn’t worsen.

It’s also rare but some patients experience an infection within a couple of weeks of the surgery. Since the implants don’t have a blood supply they’re unable to fight infection. Symptoms include heat from breasts and fever.

The infection is first treated with antibiotics. If they’re not effective a surgeon then removes/replaces the implants after the patient recovers fully after the infection.  

Old implants 

The average life of breast implants is up to 20 years. However, over time the implants can experience problems like natural breasts. They’ll have to be changed sometime after being installed. Various procedures might have to be conducted after breast augmentation surgery.

Sometimes re-operations are required. This can involve one or two implants. Besides that, there can also be pain involved in the procedures.

Scar tissue 

This happens when scar tissue forms surrounding the implant. The tightness triggers pain. The scar tissue forms when the implants are inserted under the breast muscle’s breast tissue. This symptom is experienced by up to 30% of breast implant patients within 3 years after the surgery.

When this situation happens the implants typically must be removed/replaced. This is especially common when the breast is painful/hard. A doctor can determine if this is necessary.

Cancer

Doctors are uncertain why this type of immune system cancer happens. It can occur anywhere within the body, including the breasts. It’s quite rare in the breasts, and in 100 million women just 3 get it. Due to this condition being so rare it’s important to find out if you have this immune system-related cancer.

Breast Augmentation Pain: Treatments

Botox

That might be a surprising treatment. One study review showed that Botox injections during/after breast augmentation surgery might help to reduce pain. However, it’s worth noting that more research is needed. The review evaluated fewer than 10 studies. So it’s unclear whether Botox injections can provide pain relief.

Stretching 

It can help to stretch the chest muscles. Some options include shoulder rolls, arm circles, and chest stretches. These exercises every hour after your surgery can prevent muscles from contracting/shortening. These situations could cause extra discomfort after your surgery, which is something you’ll want to avoid.  

Support

It’s important to provide support for the breasts with an elastic bandage or surgical bra. This can help to lower pain. You can find these products at brick & mortar stores and online retailers like Amazon. There are various products on the market so it’s a matter of shopping around.

Implant removal 

In some situations, the main problem is caused by complications resulting from the implant itself. In that case, it might be necessary to remove/replace the implant. This might be the only “cure” for the implant.

Pain pump 

This is a device that provides numbing medicine to the region causing pain. The medicine is applied for up to 3 days usually, which is when most pain is experienced after surgery.

Sometimes patients take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines while using the pain pump. This might help to avoid side-effects caused by prescription pain medicines. As always, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best options for you.

*** Medication

Your surgeon will prescribe medication(s) to help deal with the post-operation pain after breast augmentation surgery. If the medicines aren’t effective enough you should talk to your doctor. He/She can prescribe different medicines to treat the pain more effectively. This could involve high dosages, new medicines, and other options to deal with breast augmentation pain.

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