Augmentation Mammoplasty is one of the leading cosmetic procedures in the US today. This plastic surgery is designed to help women with ‘smaller’ breasts achieve a more desirable breast size and shape. Some breast enlargement procedures may be completed using the natural technique. However, the majority use artificial implants that carry some risk of complications such as capsular contracture.
Capsular contracture happens when the body responds to a breast implant by forming a capsule of scar tissue around it. This scar tissue sometimes becomes thick and tight, often causing the breast to feel hard, painful, and misshapen. Had capsular contracture before? Then you may be wondering what the chances are of it happening again.
What is capsular contracture?
In a nutshell, capsular contracture happens when the patient’s immune system responds to the presence of a breast implant by forming a capsule of scar tissue around it. This capsule sometimes becomes thick and tight. Often, it will squeeze implant and cause the breast to feel hard and misshapen. Plastic surgeons typically grade this breast enlargement complication on a scale from 1 to 4. Grade 1 refers to a normal soft breast while grade 4 represents a hard, painful, and misshapen breast.
Causes of capsular contracture
Doctors do not exactly know the exact causes of capsular contracture, but several factors have already been blamed:
- Bacterial contamination during surgery or after
- Bleeding or hematoma formation
- Ruptured implant
- Subglandular implant placement
- Textured implant surface
- History of radiation therapy
- Poor surgical technique
- Silicone implants
Treating capsular contracture
The treatment for capsular contracture depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may be treated with medication and massage. However, more severe cases may require surgery.
Surgery for capsular contracture typically involves removing the scar tissue capsule and replacing the implant. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rahul Vemula specializes in the treatment of capsular contracture and offers a variety of options to his patients. During your initial consultation visit, the surgeon will evaluate each patient’s specific case and recommend the best course of treatment to achieve the desired outcome.
Chances of getting capsular contracture again
The likelihood of getting capsular contracture again depends on factors such as the type of implant used, the surgical technique employed, and the patient’s medical history.
According to a study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the risk of developing capsular contracture is higher with silicone implants than with saline implants. The study also found that patients who had previous capsular contracture were more likely to develop it again. There is no guaranteed way to prevent capsular contracture from recurring. However, choosing an experienced surgeon, following postoperative instructions, and selecting the right implant type may help lower the risk of occurrence.
During your capsular contracture consultation, Dr. Vemula’s office will thoroughly explain the risks and benefits of breast augmentation surgery, including the potential for capsular contracture. It is important that you follow all postoperative instructions (including avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous activity for several weeks). Massaging your breasts may also help prevent scar tissue from forming.
The kind of implant you choose can have a bearing on your capsular contracture risk. Silicone implants have been found to carry a higher risk of compared to saline implants. However, some patients may still prefer the feel and appearance offered by these implants. It’s important to discuss the benefits and risks of both types of implants with your surgeon to make an informed decision.
Capsular contracture can be a frustrating and painful complication after breast enlargement surgery. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent its occurrence or recurrence, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. And with proper care and attention, you can enjoy the benefits of breast augmentation surgery without the risk of capsular contracture.