I could really use some help with this, so any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated!
My mother (aged 75) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, and opted for a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Her implants were placed in 2003 - they were Mentor brand, 50% saline (interior) and 50% silicon (exterior). She has not really had any "upkeep" in the way of mammograms, as the only thing she has are the implants.
Everything seemed okay until a couple of weeks ago. She asked to me to look at her and see if one breast looked swollen. It was hard to say, but her left breast did look "different" and a little "misshapened." She said she had some pain under her left arm. I told her to call her doctor (she has changed insurances, and can no longer self-refer herself to the plastic surgeon who performed the implant surgery). She was able to see her doctor that day, who didn't think there was anything wrong, and thought it might be due to stress. My mother knows of another woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer who is currently having a recurrence, and she is a bit stressed about it. However, the doctor did order some x-rays and an MRI. My mother was able to have the x-rays taken that day, and her MRI is scheduled for this Thursday.
In this short amount of time (a week), the pain has become somewhat intense. She cannot raise her arm to get the seat belt in the car, it hurts to walk the dogs, she's losing sleep. The pain has now crept to her left side and down the upper part of left arm. It hurts to sneeze, and she cannot really draw a deep breath. Since breast cancer can spread to the lung, that was her first concern, but she really exhibits no signs/symptoms of that. My concern is that perhaps her implant has ruptured or developed a leak - but I'm not sure what type of symptoms or pain, if any, accompanies that.
To top everything off, this morning she thinks she found a hard "knot" or lump at the bottom of the left breast (remember, there is no breast tissue here, it is all implant).
I've tried researching stuff on the Internet, but all it says is: there might be pain. But THIS kind of pain?? To keep an old woman up at night crying?!?!? Has anyone here experienced a rupture of a silicon implant? What were the symptoms? I do know if an implant ruptures, it has to be removed, but how complicated is it, if the silicon has seeped into the body? After the mastectomy, and the expanders to get the implants, I just cannot imagine my mother going through anymore.
I apologize for the length of this, but all replies are appreciated. Thank you!
Hi I can answer some of your questions. I had a ruptured implant many years ago. It sounds like your mom has the double luminin implant. Silicone and saline.
I did not have pain for several years. I had low-grade fevers. Pain in the lymph node under the arm. Incredible fatigue, rashes, hair loss, a mental fog and developed severe allergies. I went from dr to dr and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. The joint pain was really bad in one shoulder. My one breast started feeling heavy and itched alot! This was over a period of 4 years. I then started thinking it was my implants but drs said no. It wasn't until the media broke with the facts about problems that I knew I found the answer. I went to a rheumotologist in LA and was sent to UCLA. I had surgery and the implants removed. I also had reconstructon at the same time. The silicone had spread to the center of my chest so the microvascular surgeon pulled tissue up from my rib area to fill it back in. He did a beautiful job. Where in S. Ca are you?
Any more questions, ask. Ironically, I am going out the door in a few for a breast biopsy in the other breast. I am being put out, so if I am not too loopy I will check here later.
Thank you for your response. It sounds as though you've been through hell and back - wow!
You are correct, my mother's implants do contain both saline and silicon. As far as fatigue symptoms, it's difficult to say. She does complain of being tired, but she has always been a very light sleeper, has never really slept well (suffered bouts of insomnia). She doesn't have the energy she had when she was younger - but is that due to simply getting older? Or is it due to something else? She gets frustrated with it, but she doesn't complain overly much.
My mother's pain appears to be very localized under left arm, in a rather wide area. I haven't had a chance yet to look at the lymph node area to see if there might be any swelling (the doctor hadn't noticed anything last week), and the area is sensitive to touch. The reason we think it has to do with the implant is because her left breast appears to be swollen/misshappen, and there is a hard knot at the bottom. I'm not certain if what she is experiencing is joint pain, though. My mother is not really good with pain, and it's difficult for her to pinpoint it.
If an implant ruptures (silicon), will it affect the joints solely? Or can it cause pain in the muscles as well? I know you stated you had had silicon leeking (is that the proper term?) for years - is that typical? Are there any symptoms when this first occurs, or do symptoms usually occur after a while? Is there any danger of the silicon getting into the blood, and if so, what does that do?
I usually do so much research before taking on medical procedures, regardless of what doctors say. When my mother had her implants done 6 years ago, I'm afraid I allowed myself to just listen to what the doctor said and didn't look much further. He said this was all something "new." (50/50 saline/silicon implant) Now I'm thinking I should have played the devil's advocate in this.
Again, thank you! And I hope your biopsy goes well!
Capsular contraction occurs when scar tissue starts squeezing in on the implant. It can cause a rupture. In fact, I had implants 20 years ago and after multiple pregnancies noticed they didnt look right, they were very hard and a friend mentioned I really should have them rechecked. I thougt through breast feeding and weight gain/loss I had destroyed how they were suppose to look. During my revision, it was discovered both implants had ruptured and the only thing keeping the silicone in was scar tissue. I had no symptoms of sickness, illness, etc. but everyone is different. these were placed over the muscle.
I recommend she go for a plastic surgeon consult. They know what to look for and are a great second opinion. Most do the consult for free but because she is having issues, it might even be covered by insurance. Mine took 1 look at me and knew exactly what the issue was. Having 15 years of gyn exams, my doc had no clue there was anything wrong when doing the breast exam. I hope its something little. My prayers are with you. I know its a stressful situation.
Also, the revision was a walk in the park compared to the original surgery. In fact, I was only on pain meds the first day and completely functional other than resting the following day. The revision took an hour longer than scheduled because he had to vacuum out the silicone. The biggest problem with this is I thought and my medical records said I had saline implants over the muscle. Now I have silicone under the muscle and have never been happier. Again, everyone is different. Get her in for a Plastic Surgeon consult asap. Good luck.