Capsular contracture after breast augmentation

Capsular contracture after breast augmentation

07th Apr 2019

Capsular contracture after breast augmentation


The breast augmentation with implants is probably the most commonly performed procedure in the United States and globally nowadays. The intervention can provide the patient with the breasts of her dreams practically overnight. However, it is important to know that there are complications that could occur after the breast implants surgery, just like it is the case with any other surgical procedure. In this case, we have the complications that are common to all surgical interventions such as infections, wound opening, skin necrosis, hematoma and seroma, excessive bleeding, among others, but also complications that are specific to the breast augmentation with implants surgery. Capsular contracture is one of these specific complications that could occur when the patient has breast implants surgery.


What is capsular contracture? The scar tissue or the capsule that naturally forms around the breast implants can tighten up and can strangle the implant. This is what we call capsular contracture. The capsular contracture tends to occur more often after seromas and hematomas or infections. Also, apparently it occurs more frequently in patients with subglandular implant positioning. The signs and symptoms of capsular contracture can be varied. The patient can experience unusual firmness of the breasts and mild discomfort but also pain, the distortion of the breast, an implant that can be felt to the touch and so on. Depending on the severity of the capsular contracture, different treatment plans can be followed. When the firmness of the breasts or the pain is intense, surgery is necessary to correct the condition. Usually, the plastic surgeon will have to remove the capsule of tissue that is around the implant, but in some cases, the replacement of the implants might be necessary too.


Many patients wonder why the body forms a capsule around the implant. This is a natural response of the body to any foreign object that is inserted into it. The tissues that were sectioned when creating the pocket for the implant will start the cicatrization process and form a scar around the implant, and this is what we call a capsule.


The capsular contracture doesn’t occur immediately after the breast implants surgery. This would be impossible because, as we have already discussed, it is a complication of the cicatrization process. Generally speaking, capsular contracture can occur after six months to three years after the breast implants surgery was performed. In rare cases, the complication can occur later on, but this has a very low incidence.


Different patients will have different forms and evolutions of the capsular contracture, and this means that the treatment needs to be adapted to the patient. Also, the causes of capsular contracture are not fully known at this time, and there is a lot of scientific debate about the topic. You should know that there are biological factors that can trigger the capsular contracture, but also other types of factors such as the position of the implants and the surface texture of the implants.


If you are concerned about developing a capsular contracture after breast implants surgery, discuss this in detail with your plastic surgeon.


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