Breast augmentation is designed for long-term breast enhancement. However, some women may experience complications that can compromise the results of their initial breast surgery. Capsular contracture is a condition that develops when the natural scar tissue capsule that forms thickens and constricts around the implants. The constriction can cause discomfort and an unsatisfactory breast appearance.
Identifying Capsular Contracture
- Firm, hard, or tight breasts
- Breasts that sit very high on the chest
- Misshapen breasts
- Breast pain or discomfort
Potential Causes of Capsular Contracture
Several postoperative complications may contribute to the development of capsular contracture. Hematoma (pooling of blood due to broken blood vessels), seroma (buildup of fluid under the skin), and bacterial infection have been known to lead to capsular contracture, which typically occurs within the first two years after breast augmentation.
Blunt force trauma to the breasts may also contribute to the development of capsular contracture. Patients who have older implants filled with less cohesive silicone gel are more likely to experience silicone leakage upon rupture, which can also lead to capsular contracture. After any breast trauma, patients are advised to schedule an appointment with their surgeon for an evaluation.
Overly Large Implants
Some patients with thin or weakened breast tissue are at a higher risk of developing capsular contracture with overly large implants. The stress that larger, heavier implants impose upon the breast tissue may trigger the fibrotic reaction that causes capsular contracture, so selecting a smaller set of implants may be beneficial for this demographic.
Breast Revision to Correct Capsular Contracture
The most effective method for correcting capsular contracture is breast revision surgery. The procedure will include a capsulectomy, which involves removing the tight capsule that has formed around the implant. Saline implants do not need to be replaced unless they deflate, and silicone gel implants should be replaced if there is evidence of a leak. Submuscular implant placement and the use of textured implants may prevent recurrence. Insertion of a material scaffold has been shown to completely prevent contractures but is very costly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after my breast augmentation surgery can I undergo breast revision to correct capsular contracture?
It is best to wait at least six months before undergoing breast revision because it takes about that long to see your final breast augmentation results. Capsular contracture usually starts to become noticeable three months after surgery. If you notice any complications after your primary breast surgery, consult with your plastic surgeon immediately.
How can I reduce my risk of developing capsular contracture in the future?
Choosing textured implants is one way to help reduce the likelihood of developing capsular contracture, particularly in patients with a history of developing it. Opting for submuscular implant placement is also helpful. Dr. Koch ensures that all of his patients receive meticulous attention during surgery in a sterile environment to provide the most pleasing results.
Can you change implant placement during breast revision surgery?
Yes. Since capsular contracture may be caused by poorly placed implants, they are often repositioned to form a more pleasing breast profile. Submuscular implant placement is known to give patients a lower risk of capsular contracture.
How long will my results last?
As long as you are satisfied with the results of your revision surgery, your results should be long lasting. Future complications or natural wear to your implants may require additional correction in about 10 to 15 years.