What Is Capsular Contracture? Everything You Need To Know About This Breast Augmentation Side Effect

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As with any surgery, there are potential risk factors and side effects associated with breast augmentation. Sometimes, no matter how prepared or skilled your plastic surgeon is, complications arise during or after surgery. Capsular contracture is a breast augmentation side effect that can cause serious complications. Below, we answer the question “what is capsular contracture” and discuss what causes capsular contracture and capsular contracture repair.

What is capsular contracture?

It’s completely normal and natural for scar tissue to form around any kind of implant and is considered part of the healing process. This “capsule” of scar tissue even helps to keep the breast implants in place. In some cases, however, this capsule becomes extremely hard and starts to contract around the implant. This hardening or “contracture” can lead to both changes in the look of the breast and sometimes pain in the breasts. Capsular contracture can happen with any type of surgical implant but is more commonly identified in patients who have received breast augmentations since it compromises the aesthetic appearance of the surgery.

What causes capsular contracture?

There are a few theories on what causes capsular contracture, and most of them differ from patient to patient. It's important to note that this condition is not caused in any way by breast implants being toxic or dangerous, and the condition is not exclusive to breast augmentation surgery. Signs of capsular contracture include increasing firmness or tightness in the breast and can start to appear as early as a few months after your implant reconstruction surgery or even years later.

Capsular Contracture Repair

There are options when it comes to correcting capsular contracture, including:

  • Capsulectomy: During a capsulectomy, your surgeon will remove the existing implant and the surrounding tissue capsule and insert a new implant that is wrapped in a sheet of dermal matrix material that creates an extra protective layer, allowing the body to form a new capsule of scar tissue around the new implant.

  • Open capsulotomy: During an open capsulotomy, the goal is for the capsule to break open after the surgeon makes a series of cuts in the capsule. By breaking open the capsule, your surgeon will give the implant more room. Sometimes, your surgeon will also remove your existing implant and replace it with a new one.

  • Autologous reconstruction: During this method, your surgeon will remove your implant and reconstruct your breast with a flap of tissue transplanted from another area of your body. One advantage of this method is that a capsule will not form around that new flap of skin, so you are not at risk for capsular contraction reoccurring.

Capsular contracture is more prevalent than you think, occurring in nearly one out of every six breast augmentations. Thankfully, however, the condition can be easily repaired by a trained surgeon. If you’re looking for capsular contracture repair in Orlando, schedule an appointment with HZ Plastic Surgery today.