How Can You Reduce Pain and Hardness to Breast Implants After Breast Cancer Radiation Treatment?

Tissue expanders and breast implants are used for the most common type of breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery and radiation treatment. While this type of reconstruction of the breast can have good results, pain can often occur due to the scar tissue buildup around the expanders and final implants. Some ways to reduce this pain can be done at home, and others require the help from a doctor.

Before & After


Causes of Pain

To make room for a permanent breast implant following a mastectomy, temporary devices known as tissue expanders are implanted within the chest. Compared to implant shells, tissue expanders can feel unnatural and hard due to their increased thickness and flexibility. The source of this type of pain is the muscle that is being stretched. This pain is similar to muscle tightness, muscle spasms, or cramps.

In addition to the muscle, scar tissue or capsules forming around the expander could be the cause of pain as well as hardness. Radiation fibrosis from radiation treatments can also be the cause of pain in this location. Infection may also be a cause of this pain.

Reduce Pain and Hardness to Breast Implants

To reduce pain and increase your comfort while expanders are in place at home consider asking your surgeon about the following:

  • Take Advil
  • Apply a cold gel pack
  • Relaxation tapes
  • Gentle arm stretches and exercises

If these at-home strategies are not helping, your doctor could do other things to help reduce the pain.

Capsular Contractor Pain and Hardness

Capsular contracture is a formation or “capsule” of scar tissue around an implant, including a breast implant. Treatment is needed to remedy this condition and to reduce pain and hardness. It is important to seek treatment immediately after noticing signs of capsular contracture to ensure the best results. Signs include:

  • Pain
  • Firmness
  • Implant high in position or not dropping
  • Distorted appearance or shape

The firmness of capsular contracture is graded by using the Baker Grading System:

  • Grade I: Breast appears and feels normal
  • Grade II: Breast feels a little firm but appears normal
  • Grade III: Breast is firmer and appears distorted (shape change or mal-positioned)
  • Grade IV: Breast is hard and greatly distorted in position and shape

Treatment of Capsular Contracture After Breast Cancer Radiation Treatment

The Aspen Rehabilitation Technique is one of the options used to treat capsular contracture. This treatment method involves a series of painless soundwaves administered over the patient’s breast. Next, a licensed expert will render specific implant massages and pocket expansion techniques. Lastly, to help in the adjustment of the hard implant, a compression garment is fitted. For existing capsules, ten treatments are required. However, only five treatments are needed for the prevention of this condition. This prevention treatment should be prescheduled and needs to start right at 2 weeks after final implants.

The Aspen Rehabilitation Technique Through The Aspen After Surgery Center

The Aspen Rehabilitation Technique is a patented process available through The Aspen After Surgery Center located in Coral Springs, Florida and offers a 1-week FAST TRACK for qualified patients. Typically, the cost of travel and treatment is less than surgery and comes with none of the risks. If you are considering surgery , or have already gone through the process, call us today to speak with one Aspen’s experts.

As surgery has a high re-occurrence rate for these issues happening over and over, The Aspen Treatment can also be provided in a patient’s surgeons office. Ask your surgeon for the Aspen After Surgery Treatment as an inexpensive option to surgery.