Capsular Contracture: An Uncommon Complication that We Should Discuss

Breast Augmentation | Claytor Noone Plastic Surgery | Bryn Mawr, PAWhen you’re excited about having breast augmentation, the last thing you might want to do is think about potential complications. At the same time, there is no way to completely shut down to the idea that the path to a better body may not go exactly as planned. One of the important aspects of cosmetic surgery is that our patients are well-informed. Capsular contracture may be an uncommon complication of breast augmentation surgery, but it is one that we should discuss. When you know why this problem may occur and what we do about it, you can feel more peaceful as your surgery day approaches.

What is capsular contracture and why might it happen?

Capsular contracture describes the formation of scar tissue around an implant. In some cases, it is unilateral, affecting only one implant. There is a chance, though, that scar tissue may develop around both implants. The problem with capsular contracture is that, if tissue thickens enough, the shape of the affected breast may become distorted. In severe cases, which are rare, the pressure of tissue against implants may be painful.

The development of capsular contracture does not mean that you have done anything wrong in your post-operative journey. It also does not mean your body will reject implants forever. According to studies, capsular contracture seems to occur when there is an irritant in the area of the implant. This can be difficult to avoid completely because that irritant could be bacteria or it could be blood. One of the natural processes of healing is the increase of circulation to the surgical site. If bacteria are in the blood, it may travel to the breast implant.

Do I need to treat capsular contracture?

Understandably, patients want to know if treatment will be necessary to treat scar tissue around the breasts. The answer varies from patient to patient because no case of capsular contracture is the same. If scar tissue is minor and causing subtle firmness but no deformity, no surgical treatment may be necessary.

Claytor Noone Plastic Surgery typically recommends breast augmentation revision to correct capsular contracture when the breast has obvious deformities due to scar tissue, or when pain is present. The revision surgery involves the removal of thickened tissue and repositioning of a new implant in the pocket, or envelop of tissue that has been created for support.

The risk of capsular contracture is between 1 and 2%, which is minimal in comparison to the advantages of breast augmentation. To learn more about this procedure and how we perform it, call our Bryn Mawr office at 610-527-4833.

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