Breast Pain, Redness, or Swelling

You may experience breast pain immediately after your surgery or years after your surgery. It’s important to find out what is causing your breast pain so that you can try to reduce it.

As with any surgery, augmentation patients should expect to feel pain immediately after surgery. However, pain that lasts for months or longer can have many different causes and requires treatment. It can be a sign of an infection, especially if the pain is accompanied by redness, swelling, and tenderness.

Pain can also be caused by capsular contracture, which is when scar tissue that has developed around the implant tightens or hardens. The breast will feel hard and may change shape. The more severe the capsular contracture becomes, the more pain you will experience.

Nerve injury can also cause chronic breast pain or loss of sensation (numbness) of the breast and nipples. Studies have found that between about 13 and 15% of augmentation patients experienced nerve injury or changes in sensation after surgery. Damaged nerves heal slowly and may not ever heal. If the nerve injury is severe enough, additional surgery may be recommended.

Swelling in the breast can be caused by infection, rupture, or Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), a cancer of the immune system. If you notice swelling in your breasts, your doctor should test the fluid around your implant for signs of bacteria or signs of cancer.

All articles have been reviewed and approved by Diana Zuckerman, PhD,  and other senior staff.