Are you considering breast implants? The main types are silicone shells that are filled with either saltwater or gel. These units can change the size/shape of breasts or be part of breast cancer treatment. You should also be aware you can also experience fever after breast augmentation and other symptoms after the implants are inserted. You also might experience other similar symptoms like joint pain or fatigue. This might be caused by the silicone shell breaking then leaking into the bloodstream. It’s important to know what causes this problem and how to take the best steps. For example, should you have the implants removed?
About 4% of US women have had breast augmentation surgery. There are two main types of medical procedures. One is often part of breast cancer treatment, while the other is done to change the breast’s size, shape, or texture. A silicone shell is usually used that’s filled with either saltwater or gel. Sometimes the implants’ shell breaks, which can cause saltwater or gel to leak. When the shell gets damaged this can also cause the silicone to leak into the bloodstream. This is what might be causing symptoms like low-level fever. If you experience such symptoms it’s important to get treatment ASAP and have the shell swapped out.
What Happens When Breast Implants Leak?
A breast implant can last for up to a decade or so based on different factors like which type you get. All units have a silicone shell on the outside that can get damaged over time and result in damage like holes, tears, or cracks.
In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that breast implants aren’t designed to last a lifetime or even multiple decades. If you have implants it’s important to have your implants checked every year or so. This will make it easier to detect when there are leaks, for example.
When this situation happens, it can cause various results. They include causing the breast’s shape to change, or breast pain. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that broken shells can cause serious health problems like rheumatoid arthritis, reproductive issues, or breast cancer.
If the shell breaks you might not notice it. That’s because the silicone stays in the human tissue around it. There are some times though the tissue can become swollen or irritated. If scar tissue starts to develop you might experience symptoms like:
- Swollen, sore, or painful breasts
- Size/shape changes
If you’ve had implants inserted and think the shell has broken it’s important to contact your surgeon about the situation. There are various imaging tests like MRIs that can check if the silicone shell has broken.
There are different approaches you can take if you think the shell has broken. They include having a surgeon remove the implants immediately. You can also wait a while to see whether or not the shell has actually broken.
One decision you’ll have to make is whether or not to have a new breast implant inserted after the broken one is swapped out. If you pick that option sometimes the surgeon can handle both tasks during one surgery.
What Causes Fever after Breast Augmentation?
One of the main types of breast implants are ones with a silicone shell and gel filling. Both saltwater and gel units have an outer silicone structure. The difference is the body can absorb a saline solution but not gel.
Some patients have reported they’ve experienced symptoms from silicone/gel implants. This includes ones like fever and fatigue. Some health experts think that these symptoms are a sign of leaking silicone causing immune system-linked problems like rheumatoid arthritis. TI’s also believed connective tissue also might be affected.
The problem is there’s no solid proof that the silicone/gel implants can cause diseases related to human tissue. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) met in the early 1990s to study the matter.
The FDA reported that the breast implant didn’t cause major health issues. However, they also shared that implant manufacturers hadn’t done enough to make sure the implants were as safe as possible. The FDA announced that the only time gel-filled units would be available is if saltwater-filled units weren’t possible.
The situation has changed recently. Patients can now opt for silicone/gel implants as a first option even if saltwater-filled implants are an option. However, due to the FDA’s decision in 1992 most surgeons use saltwater implants today.
One of the issues related to fevers after breast implant surgery is, they’re “low-grade” fevers. So, it’s unclear if the cause is the breast implants themselves. In many cases, the cause of the fevers seems to be “unknown.” In some cases, there are no other symptoms that happen with the fever.
One theory is a leaking silicone/gel could cause an infection that triggers the fever. Since the body can’t absorb the gel your doctor might recommend having the implant removed immediately. It’s critical to contact your physician about any symptoms related to leaking implants. They can inform you of any options.
Tips for Breast Augmentation Recovery
Wear the surgical bra
These are usually recommended following breast enlargement surgery. It helps to provide support for your breasts and lower swelling during the healing process. This helps to speed up the healing process and reduce pain, which are always good things.
Try to relax
OK, this probably sounds like an obvious step. It’s still worth noting you should take it easy after a breast augmentation surgery. Avoid going on long trips for the first few days post-operation.
This can help to reduce swelling and make the recovery time shorter. It’s a good idea to take some sick leave from work up to a couple of days. You should be able to return to your day-to-day activities after that time.
Apply the “right” lotions/creams
Make sure to get a green light from your surgeon/doctor about lotions and creams that are OK to apply after your surgery. Sometimes surgeons will give you a surgical “glue” you can apply to your breasts for about 3 weeks. After that, there’s a silicone gel to apply.
Take pain meds
After the procedure, you should consider using pain medicine on a schedule. Tylenol is a good option and can help to speed up recovery. In most situations, it’s enough to reduce post-surgery pain and prevents the need to use prescription meds.
If possible avoid using a narcotic painkiller. The reason is it can cause side-effects like upset stomach, low energy, and digestion problems. In some cases, you might need stronger meds to deal with the pain but you should generally try to avoid them.
Ice down the breasts to reduce symptoms
You should apply ice to the implants during the first 2 or 3 days following the procedure. This can help to reduce symptoms like swelling and pain. You have various options like frozen corn or peas even if you have a fever after breast augmentation.