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Scar tissue distorting the shape of the breasts
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Scar tissue distorting the shape of the breasts

15th Jun 2017

Breast implant surgery helps improve the appearance of the breast by making it look bigger, fuller and rounder. Just like other plastic surgeries, it has its own risks and possible complications. One of the complications associated with breast implants is capsular contracture.

When implants are inserted, the body’s natural response to a foreign object is triggered and it forms a protective cover around it. This is known as a capsule and it is made out of the body’s own tissue. In some cases, the surrounding scar tissue tightens or squeezes the implant, leading to hardening and unsightly breast contortions and deformities. This is known as capsular contracture. It has been known to cause the implants to leak or burst.

One of the obvious signs indicating the presence of capsular contracture would be the visible rippling on the skin. This is most likely seen with patients who have saline-filled implants. A way to remedy this is to change from saline implants into silicone gel ones. Another sign would be a hard and high-riding breast. For some patients, both of the breasts can be affected but there are also others who have capsular contracture in just one breast. You can really see the distortion of the breast when the implant is high riding. As tightness increases, it can also cause pain in the breast. In order to correct this, the surgeon will need to remove the implant and the excess scar tissue surgically. The implants can be replaced but the risk of developing capsular contracture even after replacement remains.

Capsular contracture can occur at any time, though most often in the early months after breast implant augmentation. It would be best to look out for early signs so that it can be immediately treated. Even if it occurs randomly, there are some post-operative measures that can be taken to help prevent it.

Many surgeons suggest taking vitamin E to help with scar healing and softening. Vitamin E should be taken after surgery to help make sure that the scar tissues that form are softer. Although it has not been conclusively proven that the use of vitamin E can really help prevent occurrence of capsular contracture, there are anecdotal reports from some surgeons that there are fewer incidence of capsular contracture among patients who took vitamin E after surgery.

Some theorize that capsular contracture happens due to mild bacterial infection. In order to avoid this, the patient should choose the surgeon carefully. Surgical procedures must be performed under sterile conditions. Still, even when proper protocols and sterile conditions are met, capsular contracture can still happen. In this scenario, an ultra sterile technique would be needed, wherein the implants cannot even be exposed to the air in the operating room. When they are taken out of their containers, they are immediately covered with antibiotic liquid and placed inside the body of the patient to prevent any contamination.

 


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