Breast Implant Problems

Ask the Expert


I got breast implants a week ago, and I feel like I can't breathe. It feels like someone is choking me. Is this a normal feeling?


If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by your surgeon, as this could signal a serious complication. There could be a number of reasons for feeling like you can't breathe, ranging from the physical -- infection or other problem with the breast implant -- to psychological anxiety. The first thing you need to do is contact your surgeon. Make a detailed list of any signs and symptoms you're having, no matter how minor they might seem. For instance, be sure to note if you've felt feverish, or unusually tired, or had any pain in the breast area. Do your breasts feel tender or warm to the touch? Does the problem with breathing occur all the time, or just occasionally? If the latter, when does it occur? When you're sitting quietly, or after exertion?

Breast implant surgeries are getting better and safer every year. But, like any operation, they can develop complications. These include: infection around the implant; leaking or rupture in the implant; contractures (in which scar tissue builds up around the implant, sometimes causing pain and distortion of the tissue); hematoma, in which blood or fluid pools around the implant causing pain and/or infection; movement of the implant; a blood clot that's lodged in the lung, or even injury to a rib or lung from the surgery or anesthesia.

Your doctor will likely do an exam, listen with a stethoscope, and perhaps recommend a chest x-ray. For now, however, please call your doctor and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. In a severe emergency, you should consider dialing 911.

Chances are good that this is a solvable problem that your surgeon can help you resolve. Good luck!


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