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Anon asked...

I had double mastectomy 17 years ago, I was given implants which are feeling strange...

I had double mastectomy 17 years ago, I was given implants which are feeling strange, do they breakdown? one implant in particular feels very uncomfortable. should I go to my own doctors although I had operation privately. I am with AXA under my work scheme. What should I do?

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The answer

Thank you for your question. You have not mentioned the type of implants you have so we will briefly discuss both.

The most commonly used implant in the UK is silicone. These are filled with either soft or firm silicone gel and some have a polyurethane coating which are claimed to reduce the risk of the breast tissue feeling hard (capsular constracture) and the implant rotating which may lead to an abnormal shape of the breast. Soft gel implants can rupture causing the gel to spread into the breast this may cause small tender lumps (siliconomas) which are only detectable on a breast scan. The implant would need to be removed.

Saline implants are more likely to rupture or deflate earlier than silicone but the saline solution would be safely absorbed into the blood stream.

Breast implants will not last a life time and they will need replacing at some point depending on the individual and their life style. Some women require further surgery after about ten years either because of a problem with the implants or because the breast has changed around the nipple.

We would suggest that you see your GP so that you can arrange to see a specialist for further investigations and to discuss whether you want your implants replaced.

You may find the following website useful Cosmetic treatment guide there are further links should you want more information about replacement implants.

We wish you all the best and if we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Health at Hand service.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses