Often, patients will experience breast implant pain immediately following breast implant surgery. It is important to understand whether the pain that you experience is normal or if you are experiencing abnormal that your doctor needs to address. Although the following issues are the most common causes of breast implant pain, it is also important that you consult with your doctor if you experience pain outside of the normal scope of surgery. If your breast implant pain returns or if it has been years since your surgery and you suddenly experience breast implant pain, make an appointment with your doctor to find out the source of your pain and find a solution.

Incision Pain

Your incision sites may be sore or painful after the procedure. While breast implant surgery is minimally invasive, the doctor still needs to make an incision to get the implant into your body. Over-the-counter painkillers can provide relief, but you may receive a prescription medication to help with your recovery. Visit your doctor if the breast implant pain is unusually severe, lasts more than a few weeks or if you see signs of infection.

Capsular Contracture

Is your breast implant pain associated with an increased hardness in one or both of your breasts? Some people experience capsular contracture, which is a condition caused by the breast tissue tightening around an implant. This can happen at any point after your surgery. Let your surgeon know as soon as you experience any changes, so he can take the necessary steps to reduce your pain.


Tenderness, swelling and a bruise-like appearance of the area near your incision spot are classic hematoma symptoms. The blood from the incision site can pool and clot in nearby tissues, which creates a small lump. You need to get your doctor to check on any unusual lumps in your breasts following the surgery, as they may also indicate a more serious condition. Many hematomas go away without any treatment. If your doctor is concerned about the size, severity or longevity of the hematoma, he can either drain the blood or surgically remove it.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

The lymph nodes in your armpits may swell or feel painful for several reasons. You could have an infection at the incision or within your breast tissue, which causes this reaction. A lymph node could get damaged during the breast implant procedure and grow in size due to a potential infection or while it heals. In either case, consulting with your surgeon is the best way to rule out any serious problems and get back on track with your recovery.


A body liquid called serum can gather near the incision. If it builds up too much, it creates a lump referred to as a seroma. When you touch the area, you may feel burning or general breast implant pain. Pay close attention to your healing wound when you suspect that liquid is collecting within the breast tissue — you should see clear serum leaking out of the incision. In most cases, the fluid takes a couple of weeks to gather. See your surgeon and have the seroma drained to eliminate this pain.


Burning sensations, pain or changes in breast appearance may be a sign that your implant ruptured. The painful feelings are most commonly associated with silicone implants, while sudden size changes are more prevalent with saline. You may have this problem immediately following your procedure or years down the road. Medical tests involving the breasts, such as mammograms, can create tears or holes in the outer material. In some cases, an implant is older and simply fails over time.

Toxic Shock Syndrome

A sudden fever, seizures and rashes are several symptoms associated with toxic shock syndrome. This serious complication is a bacterial infection that needs your doctor’s attention immediately, as it can be fatal without treatment. You may receive an antibiotic course to fight the bacteria, but surgery is a possibility. Most likely, you will need to stay in the hospital for ongoing monitoring and support until the infection clears up.


Tissue can die if it can’t get the oxygen it needs. During surgery, the blood supply for some areas may be altered or damaged. The skin goes through a spectrum of blue, purple and finally black, and the wound starts to reopen. Necrosis is a painful and serious breast implant complication. Going to your doctor as quickly as possible can limit both damage and health risks. Smoking greatly increases the chances of necrosis, as you already have less oxygen moving through your bloodstream. Your greatest risk of developing this condition is right after the procedure while the incision is healing.

Itching and Irritation

Your wound may feel irritated and itchy as it goes through the healing process. If you don’t see any signs of infection, such as swelling or pus, you don’t have anything to worry about from these sensations. However, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you feel like the incision has an unusual amount of irritation.

Wound Dehiscence

An infected incision could speed up the rate at which dissolvable sutures break down. If they disappear before you’re fully healed, the two sides of the wound will pull apart from each other. This condition, called wound dehiscence, can also occur if you try to lift heavy things or do strenuous activity too soon after your surgery. You need to get to a doctor right away to treat this wound and avoid additional complications.

Breast implant pain can be an indication that something is wrong with your breast implants. If you experience breast implant pain, make an appointment with your breast implant expert to find a safe and effective solution.

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Dr. Cohen

About Dr. Cohen

Dr. Cohen specializes in breast lifts, augmentations, revisions and reductions as well as breast cancer reconstructions. A long time dream of Dr. Cohen’s was to travel to developing countries and provide expert surgical care to those who have no other possible access to medical care. This became a reality in 2007 when she became a founding member and Vice President of ISMS Operation Kids.