Reconstructive Surgery Expert Forum
Breast Implants - why is one harder than the other?
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Questions in the Reconstructive Surgery Forum are being answered by Dr. Archibald Sanford Miller III, MD,FACS, the Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.

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Breast Implants - why is one harder than the other?

I had breast augmentation surgery six months ago - under the muscle, peri-areolar incision. The left breast remains hard, almost as if there is a wall around the implant. It is painful to lay on my stomach because it puts pressure on the breast and is firm to touch. I mentioned this to a PA I saw three months ago. She said it was common for one side to soften after the other and it usually corresponds to my dominant hand. For example, if I am right-handed, the right breast may remain hard even after the left has softened. However, in my case this was the opposite. I am right-handed and the left breast is still hard. We also talked about the implant as being a foreign object and that the body could surround it somehow because it did not recognize it. Is this "wall" going to breakdown and go away? There really isn't any deformity except it is slightly higher than the right breast; I assume because it is not soft and settled. I was also told that it could take up to a year for them to fully soften and settle, do I have to wait that long? Something doesn't feel right. What could be wrong?
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If I could answer this question, I would be the most famous plastic surgeon in the world. You have encountered the most frequent side effect of cosmetic augmentation.There Are many proposed reasons for capsular contractures, but none isolated as the primary reason. It is likely that there are numerous contributing factors. The discomfort you describe is typical. Now, there are some medications that can sometimes relieve the contractures. It is a combination of singulair and vitamin E, but you must see your surgeon to determine if that is the primary issue. He will then  help you. Closed capsular fractures are not recommended by the FDA, but it a second method of treatment, and finally, surgical removal of the scar is possible. Good luck,

                                      arch s miller ms md facs
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