A woman suffering from a painful complication of breast enhancement surgery reaches out to The Doctors for help. Find out what went wrong — and if it can be fixed.
After giving birth to twin boys, Darlene felt self-conscious about her sagging, unsymmetrical breasts, so she decided to have a breast augmentation.
“I just wanted to do something to feel good about my body,” she says.
She says at first she was happy with the results and felt more confident.
Then, about six years after the surgery, that changed. Darlene was watching TV and felt a cool sensation as if water was leaking in her left breast.
“As I was sitting there, I could actually see it deflating, getting smaller, kind of like a balloon,” she recalls.
A week later, Darlene began to feel an intense pinching feeling that wouldn’t go away, so she called the surgeon who performed her breast augmentation. He told her the only way to relieve the discomfort was to take the implant out, but she couldn’t afford the surgery.
“I have been living in pain now for two-and-a-half years,” Darlene says. “It’s with me all the time, 24/7. I can never get away from it.”
The pain is so bad that it interferes with Darlene’s daily life, and she even has considered ways she could take out the implant herself, using a razor blade.
“I just realized how desperate I really was,” she says.
The Doctors send Darlene to plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie for a consultation. Dr. Motykie explains that as the implant deflates, the pocket starts to implode, like a vacuum, and you get knuckles on the sides of the implant that can pinch the surrounding tissue. As the tissue collapses, it can pull on nerves and scar tissue, causing discomfort. After examining Darlene, Dr. Motykie finds that her right breast also likely has scar tissue, and the implant is also at risk of rupturing.
A few days after the consultation, Dr. Motykie explains that an implant deflation doesn’t typically cause pain.
“It’s called a silent leak, in most cases. Even in the case of saline, it may deflate, but it doesn’t hurt.” he says. “So, in her case, the pain may be more related to the capsule or the scar tissue contracting causing the pain but not actually from the deflation itself.”
Dr. Motykie recommends that both implants be removed and replaced with new, smooth implants, and he offers to perform the surgery free of charge.
“I think she’ll get relief, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, everything,” he says.