There are certain risks that are discussed before breast augmentation surgery. One of the most common (although infrequent) to occur is capsular contracture. This post-operative complication involves the constriction of firm scar tissue around one or both breast implants. When this scar tissue compresses the implant, the shape of the breast may become distorted, and the firmness of breast tissue may increase. In some cases, capsular contracture can be painful.
Why Might Capsular Contracture Occur?
The development of this problem has nothing to do with something you as the patient have or have not done. It is a rare occurrence that experts believe may be related to some type of irritant adjacent to the implant. The irritant is thought to be either blood or bacteria. After any surgery, the circulation of blood around the surgical site increases to facilitate healing. This increase continues for approximately 3 months and correlates to the risk for capsular contracture because, should bacteria enter the bloodstream, it may be more easily carried to breast implant pockets.
What is Done About Capsular Contracture
Initially, implant massage may be suggested for mild indications of capsular contracture, or as a preventive measure during the first three-months of postoperative healing. It is difficult to predict if or how capsular contracture may progress. For example, some women develop a mild degree of contracture in which the breast tissue feels slighter firmer than natural, but no deformity is seen. This may never progress to a state in which pain and deformity occur. In such cases, no treatment may be warranted.
If capsular contracture is causing pain and deformity, surgical revision may be considered. To revise breast augmentation that has resulted in capsular contracture, the entire capsule of thickened, hardened tissue may be removed, allowing the implant more room to sit naturally within the “pocket,” or envelop of tissue in which it was originally placed. This is referred to as a capsulectomy. This removal of scar tissue may involve the entire capsule or the bottom portion that is pressing the implant upward.
Breast augmentation, like any surgical procedure, is not without risk. Capsular contracture occurs in 1- to 2% of breast augmentation cases. For more information on how we perform breast augmentation to minimize the risk of this condition, call our Reno office at (775) 826-4477.