Why Does My Reconstructed Breast Hurt?

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons Serving Denver, Lone Tree, Colorado & Nationwide

Posted: May 12, 2021

Woman having pain in her reconstructed breast Breast reconstruction techniques have come a long way. Women tend to have fewer complications and enjoy better cosmetic results. However, problems like pain and discomfort are not unheard of after surgery. Here are several possible reasons why your reconstructed breast or breasts hurt — and how corrective breast reconstruction can help.

Capsular Contracture

It’s normal for your body to form a fibrous capsule of scar tissue around your breast implant. This protective capsule is typically soft, unnoticeable, and useful for keeping the implant in place. However, some women develop an irregularly hard or dense tissue pocket that squeezes the implant.

This condition is known as capsular contracture. It can result in chronic pain and a restricted range of motion. It can also change the position and shape of your breasts. If you have received radiation therapy in the past, especially after breast reconstruction, your chance of developing this condition is higher than average.

To resolve your symptoms, you may decide to have a capsulectomy to remove and replace your implants. Switching to an autologous reconstruction procedure such as DIEP flap may also be a good fit.

Skin Tightness Due to Radiation

Radiation therapy can cause more than implant problems like capsular contracture. It can also lead to skin and tissue imperfections. Radiation can make your skin tighter, thinner, and less flexible.

In some cases, fat grafting can be used to improve the layer of tissue between your breast implants and skin for a softer result. However, many women opt for DIEP flap combined with fat grafting to achieve the best possible outcome.

I had DIEP done to erase the tightness I had experienced for half a dozen years but what I got was support and restoration and a much better life.”-JM, Patient Review.

Other Causes of Pain After Breast Reconstruction

Some other potential problems with breast reconstruction that can cause pain include:

  • Breast implant displacement or symmastia
  • Dynamic distortion
  • Infection
  • Implant rupture
  • Implant extrusion
  • Necrosis

Causes of pain after breast reconstruction infographic

Speak Up About Your Symptoms

Studies have shown that many women are reluctant to speak up about breast reconstruction pain. If you’re having symptoms that could indicate a complication, it’s a good idea to talk to our experienced breast reconstruction revision surgeons and learn about your options for relief.

Call 303-706-1100 today to arrange a consultation at The Breast Center Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery. We welcome patients from the Denver and Lone Tree areas of Colorado as well as across the country.