Capsular contracture is a common concern for many of the potential breast augmentation patients I see at my Austin practice. Thankfully, there are several things the best surgeons do to minimize the risk of capsular contracture. If the complication does occur, I have developed a highly successful protocol for treating it and preventing a recurrence.
In this blog post, I’ll explain what the condition is, when and why it occurs, and how I use my surgical expertise to lower my patients’ likelihood of having to deal with this complication.
What is capsular contracture?
When an implant is placed under the breast tissue, the body naturally reacts to it by creating a fibrous, collagen-rich lining around it called a capsule. This helps keep the implant in place and is a natural process that causes no problems as long as the lining remains soft. Capsular contracture occurs when this capsule tightens around the breast implant, squeezing it and causing the breast to feel firm or hard.
Why does it happen?
The body sometimes has this reaction, regardless of the precautions taken, but there are a few things that make capsular contracture more likely. Two of the most common causes are biofilm, which is bacteria that gets between the implant and the tissue, and bleeding around the breast implant called a hematoma.
How can surgeons and patients lower the likelihood of it occurring?
Following proper surgical protocols is the best way to prevent capsular contracture. Experienced plastic surgeons like myself take the right safety measures to maintain meticulous surgical technique. One major factor is performing the surgery in a fully accredited surgical facility. During the procedure, I use a “no touch” technique, which means I minimize implant handling to prevent biofilm formation. I place the implant into the breast using the Keller Funnel® implant delivery sleeve, which prevents implant damage and safely and sterilely delivers the implant into the breast. This attention to detail results in little to no blood loss—and less than 0.5% chance of hematoma formation.
How do you treat capsular contracture?
About 4 years ago, I created a protocol to treat capsular contracture when it does occur. This includes surgical intervention with removal of the current breast implant, removal of the capsule surrounding this implant, thorough irrigation of the breast pocket with two antibacterial solutions, placement of STRATTICE™ to prevent the formation of a tight scar capsule, and finally placement of a new breast implant. I have reduced the recurrence of capsular contracture from the traditional rates of 30 to 50% to less than 10% with my treatment protocol.
What are the early signs of capsular contracture?
The first signs of capsular contracture include increasing firmness of the breasts and implants that appear higher, rounder, and smaller than before and don’t move around naturally. The time to talk to your surgeon is if one or both of your breasts start exhibiting the above symptoms after the body has adjusted to the implants post-surgery. Usually, this would not start to occur until at least 3 months after your breast implant placement.
While capsular contracture is a valid concern for women considering breast implants, choosing an experienced and trustworthy surgeon greatly lowers the likelihood of complications. You can see the natural-looking results my patients enjoy when you visit our before-and-after photo gallery.
If you have questions about capsular contracture or would like to learn more about breast augmentation options in Austin, please contact us online or call (512) 288-8200 to request a personal consultation.