Why Checking your Breasts is important and How to Check your Breasts with Implants
If you are a past patient and have any concerns about your breast implants – please contact us to book in for a patient review. Regular breast implant checks are an important part of having breast implants.
Regular Breast Implant Check
Routine breast implant checks usually take about 30-40 minutes. However, depending on the particulars of your condition, the consultation may be longer. This may occur if our doctors feel a patient will benefit from a more extensive examination.
Early signs that something may have gone wrong with your breast implant include:
- Unusual Pain or Discomfort: Persistent or increasing pain, discomfort, or aching in the breast or implant area that is not improving with time.
- Swelling or Inflammation: Sudden or excessive swelling, redness, or inflammation around the breast or implant site.
- Change in Breast Shape or Size: Noticeable changes in the shape, size, or symmetry of the breasts that were not anticipated or discussed with your surgeon.
- Asymmetry: Significant asymmetry between the two breasts that was not present immediately after surgery.
- Visible Rippling or Wrinkling: Visible or palpable rippling, wrinkling, or irregularities on the surface of the breast.
- Visible Implant Displacement: The implant appears to have shifted from its original position.
- Capsular Contracture: If one or both breasts become harder, feel distorted, or appear unnaturally high or misshapen, it could be a sign of capsular contracture.
- Unusual Sensations: Changes in breast or nipple sensation, such as increased sensitivity, numbness, or tingling.
- Visible Implant Rupture: In the case of saline implants, a noticeable change in breast size or shape due to implant rupture, resulting in deflation. Silicone implant ruptures are harder to detect visually.
- Unexplained Lumps or Bumps: The presence of new or unusual lumps, bumps, or irregularities.
- Unexplained Discharge: Any unusual discharge or fluid leakage from the incision site or nipple.
- Skin Changes: Changes in the skin texture, color, or appearance around the breast area.
- Persistent Flu-Like Symptoms: Unexplained fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms that persist beyond a reasonable recovery period.
- Persistent Infection Symptoms: Signs of infection, such as fever, redness, warmth, or tenderness, that do not improve with antibiotics.
- General Discomfort or Fatigue: Persistent feelings of malaise, unexplained fatigue, or overall discomfort that may be related to a systemic issue.
If you notice any of these early signs or experience any other concerning symptoms after breast augmentation surgery, it’s crucial to contact your board-certified plastic surgeon immediately. Timely communication with your surgeon is essential for evaluating the situation and taking appropriate action to address any potential complications.
Breast Implant Conditions and Treatments
1. Breast Implant Issues – Leaks, Ruptures, Capsular contraction and Double Bubble
The use of breast implants carries the risks of implant leak, rupture and capsular contracture. Ruptured silicone breast implants can cause breast pain or changes in the shape of the breast. A double bubble can also occur when a breast implant shifts down into the breast crease.
If you experience symptoms such as pain, soreness or swelling, lumps, or softening or hardening of the affected breast, you should see your doctor immediately. We now recommend that all women with breast implants should get regular breast checks.
2. Risk of BIA ALCL
Breast Implant-Associated (BIA) ALCL is a rare lymphoma associated with breast implants. The incidence of BIA ALCL is between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000. This condition can occur in patients with textured implants.
BIA ALCL can take about eight years to develop, so women have a long time to determine their best course of action. That being said, it is important to undergo regular breast checks and to know that this lymphoma is treatable (when caught early enough) by removing the implant as well as the surrounding capsule.
3. Symptoms of BII – Breast Implant Illness
Breast Implant Illness (BII) is a patient-reported condition with several symptoms ranging from;
- General fatigue
- Hair loss
- Modified body odour
- General body pain
- Painful breasts
- Itching of the breasts
- Redness of the breasts
- Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS
- Endocrinological conditions
- Autoimmune diseases including rheumatology, SLE, myalgia, arthralgia and Raynaud’s disease.
More than 100 different symptoms are patient-reported and intensely discussed in Facebook groups and in other forums on social media. Medical professionals have been working intensively over the past 60 years to understand the mechanisms of the concerns and side effects of the above patients related to breast implants.
At Coco Ruby, we take these concerns seriously and listen to patients and share our objective, evidence-based knowledge. Unfortunately, there are currently no diagnostic tests available for BII. Data in the literature does not yet support the hypothesis that breast implants cause autoimmune diseases. So far, there is little evidence that the withdrawal of breast implants guarantees a long-term symptom-free life.
We both respect and support a woman’s desire to take out their breast implants after having received relevant information. Whether you are choosing to undergo breast augmentation for aesthetic reasons, or to do breast reconstruction, it’s important that you have all the necessary information. Similarly, patients need to have all the information before they make the decision to remove their implants.
Breast Implant 14-point plan
Based on existing scientific data from best practices around the world, Professor Deva and Associate Professor Karen Vickery, together with colleagues from the University of Texas – Southwestern, have published a 14-point plan for surgeons to minimise the risk of breast implant infection.
The plan includes protocols such as specific antibiotic and irrigation regimes, particular incision and dissection techniques, minimal device handling and layered closure methods.
How often should you get your implants checked?
What is a silent rupture?
Today’s silicone implants are made with a firmer gel that will hold its shape even if the shell breaks. Therefore, a silicone implant rupture is very difficult to detect without the aid of imaging technology; in fact, if a patient does not come in for imaging as recommended, she might have a rupture for many years without even knowing it.
While there is no medical evidence that a rupture causes direct harm to the patient’s health the silicone gel in modern implants is designed to stay together and not migrate outside the breast capsule. We still consider it best practice to remove any implants that have ruptured, just to be on the safe side.
Don’t want an MRI?
If you’ve been avoiding having an MRI you can choose to have an ultrasound as it can also spot implant ruptures.
If you’re put off by the idea of spending time in an MRI machine, you’ll be glad to know you can also check for silent rupture using ultrasound. Both MRI machines and ultrasounds can accurately spot a silicone implant silent rupture.
On the other hand, saline implants do not run the risk of silent rupture (a rupture is usually seen with the eye). You can wait a little longer between checkups, assuming you are happy with the way your breasts look and you aren’t experiencing any issues that cause concern. In fact, saline breast implant patients are usually ok to wait for 5 to 10 years between checks.
Regardless of what type of breast implants, you should choose scheduled mammograms, recommended by your doctor. Mammograms will not hurt your breast implants, and professionals are trained in how to perform and read mammograms for patients who have had a breast augmentation.
If you are experiencing breast pain or swelling, get your breast implants checked.
It’s important to pay attention to your breasts and undergo a breast exam if you observe anything unusual. Following are some symptoms that can happen and why it’s a good idea to resolve them.
- Unnaturally hard or round breasts after augmentation, with or without pain, are symptomatic of possible complications, most commonly capsular contracture.
- About 1 in 10 patients develops this to some degree.
- Treatment for Mild cases is non-surgical
- However, cases that are more advanced will need to be treated with surgery to remove the old implant and breast capsule (scar tissue) and place new implants if desired.
- Treating the issue should resolve pain and restore a softer, more natural look.
- Breast pain accompanied by swelling or fluid buildup is a possible symptom of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a very rare cancer of the immune cells.
- This occurs in about 1 in 3,800 to 1 in 30,000 patients with textured implants.
- However, keep in mind that the vast majority of patients who present with these symptoms do not have BIA-ALCL.
- Of the very small number of patients who do receive a BIA-ALCL diagnosis, surgically removing both the breast implants and capsule cures nearly all of them.
The point here is not to ignore any breast changes or symptoms—this is true even if you don’t have breast implants. The earlier you detect and address any issue, the easier it will be to treat. And, if you end up ruling out a problem, you’ll have the peace of mind you deserve.
What to do if you are concerned about your Breast Implants
You should see your plastic surgeon anytime you have a concern about your implants.
Whether you’ve had your implants for a month or a decade, if something is concerning you, schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon.
This goes for aesthetic as well as possible health-related issues, no matter how big or small. It’s far better to discuss your concerns with a physician who can offer real solutions than it is to consult the internet (which, as we all know, is not always the most reliable source).
Common reasons our patients might come in for a follow-up include:
- Desire to change implant size or style
- Concerns about breast sagging or asymmetry after several years
- General concerns about how their breast implants may be affecting their physical comfort and health.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to discuss your breast implants, we welcome you to come in for a consult. We’ll listen carefully and help you find the right solution.
Even if everything seems fine you will still need a check-up every few years.
Even if you love your breast implants, it’s important to maintain a relationship with your plastic surgeon and see them in person every few years. Here’s why:
- Breast implants have a shelf life, they don’t last forever.
- Although some patients keep the same implants for over 20 years, they are not meant to last a lifetime.
- Eventually, you will need to replace your implants.
- The risk of implant rupture increases after the first decade, so at the very least, see your plastic surgeon within 10 years.
- Your breasts and body will change over the years.
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight changes, and the natural ageing process will change your breast tissue and surrounding skin.
- With time your implants might not look or feel quite the same.
- The occasional visit to your plastic surgeon will give you the chance to discuss options to maintain or improve upon your results.
- Your breast implant warranty can expire.
- While most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on the implant itself, coverage for revision surgery usually expires after a few years.
- If you were to sustain a silent rupture or have another problem that needed revision surgery, you’ll be glad to discover the problem while your warranty is still in full effect.
How a Breast Check Can Help
A BREAST CHECK WILL ASSIST WITH
- Bumps / Pain / Swelling / Redness
- Ageing Implants
- Double Bubble
- Textured Implants
- Bottoming Out
- Capsular contracture
- Pending Revision Surgery
- Post Pregnancy
- Weight Gain or Loss
- Exercise, Nutrition and Diet
- Pain Management
- Skin Cancer and Smoking
- Best Bras
- Breast Self Examination
- Regular Breast Checks with your doctor
- Mammograms, MRI, Ultrasound
TESTING FOR PROBLEMS
you may be sent for;
- An MRI
- An Ultrasound – Send for test
- And/ or Blood Tests
Book an Implant Check or Review for Past Patients
If you are a past patient of Dr Craig Rubinstein or Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery and have implants concerns or want a regular check-up of your Breast Implants, please call Coco Ruby today or contact us to book a review.
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