Capsular Contracture: 8-10% of breast implant patients experience this unusual breast firmness
What is Capsular Contracture?
Capsular Contracture is the condition where the breast feels firm after breast augmentation. When an implant is placed under the breast, the body forms scar tissue surrounding the implant. This scar tissue is called a “capsule”. Over time, in some patients, the capsule gets thicker and tightens, squeezing the implant and making the breast feel firmer. The case of this condition is not clear, although we suspect multiple factors involved with the condition, including subclinical infection, contamination, hematoma, etc. Statistically, Capsular Contracture has been reported to occur in about 8-10% of patients who receive breast implants.
How can you prevent Capsular Contracture?
Because we don’t know exact cause of capsular contracture, there is no guaranteed way to prevent it from occurring. However, we do know a few tactics that help reduce the chance of Capsular Contracture:
- placement of implants under the muscle
- the use of the smooth implants
- massaging the breasts after augmentation
- good hemostasis of the body
What to do if you have Capsular Contracture?
There are a few treatment options for those who have developed Capsular Contracture. Initially, aggressive massaging of the breast may improve the firmness. Additionally, Accolate, a medication used for asthma, has been found to soften a capsule once it has formed, although it has not shown to be effective in the prevention of Capsular Contracture.
If unsuccessful, one may consider surgical removal of the capsule (a capsulectomy), and the body will naturally repair itself by making a new capsule. We usually exchange the implants at the same time (and these new implants are now covered as a part of Mentor’s implant warranty). If Capsular Contraction recurs, we recommend application of ADM (acellular dermal matrix) along with the capsulectomy, which will be incorporated to the capsule and reduce the chance of recurrence.
As always, the most important thing is to go to an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon that you can trust. Always make sure to ask all your questions, such that you have a full understanding of the procedure and what you need to do after the operation, and to ensure you are in the right hands.
Please feel free to give our office a call at (310) 860-9502 to schedule your free consultation and to ask any questions you may have.
All my best,
K.Alex Kim MD, FACS
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
9001 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 202
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
p: 310-860-9502 / f: 310-860-9729