When it comes to breast implant surgeries, sometimes complications will develop.This has nothing to do with the talent or experience of the surgeon, but rather the patient’s own body and immune system.
A common side effect of breast implant surgery is a condition called “capsular contracture.” It can cause distortion, pain, shifting, and hardening of the breast.
We’re going to look at what a capsular contracture is, the reasons behind why it can happen, how it can be avoided, and the various options available to fix it.
What is a Capsular Contracture?
The human body views saline and silicone breast implants as non-natural intruders. As you’re healing up from breast implant surgery, your body sees a foreign object and forms a thin membrane called a capsule around it. This is actually a benefit because it can prevent the implant from moving around the area it was initially placed.
Problems arise when the scar tissue becomes too thick and starts to contract and squeeze the implant. This is what causes pain, shifting of the implant, and hardening of the breast.
How Does it Happen?
There are a few things that can cause capsular contracture to develop after breast implant surgery, and all are related to the bacterial load around the implant.
A pocket of blood serum within the surgical area can alsopotientiate bacterial growth and the formation of a capsular contracture.
Capsular contractures are graded on a scale called a Baker Scale. There are four levels, with the fourth being the most serious:
Grade 1 – The breast appears normal and soft. The overall capsule is flexible.
Grade 2 – The breast is somewhat hard to the touch, but overall looks normal.
Grade 3 – There is some distortion to the breast, and it’s hard. The breast can also become rounded in appearance and tilted upwards.
Grade 4 – Similar symptoms to Grade 3, but the capsule is much more hardened.
How Can it be Avoided?
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss several placement options. Implants that are placed within muscles are less prone to developing capsular contractures.
Many methods have been described but the only evidence based prevention is a refined surgical technique called the 14 point plan that Dr. Adams developed.
What Can be Done to Fix?
If you have developed a capsular contracture, there are several things your surgeon can do to help alleviate both the pain and the condition. A capsulectomy can be performed which removes the capsule completely. The surgeon might opt to replace the breast implant as well for best chances of success.
Another surgery called a capsulotomy can be performed. In this procedure the scar tissue is sliced open, thereby allowing expansion and decrease in pain and pressure. If surgery isn’t an option or the patient has no desire to undergo the knife, other treatment methods can potentially help.
Prescribed medications, massages, and even ultrasounds might help the stiff capsule relax a bit. If you suffer from capsular contracture or are in pain, it’s best to make an appointment with a surgeon as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and go over all available treatment options.
Breast Implant Surgery Recovery
You can also help lessen the risk of a capsule from forming by keeping a few things in mind while recovering from surgery. For example, quitting smoking can help decrease overall healing times.
For the first few weeks after surgery, try to avoid any strenuous physical activities which could cause the implant to shift. It needs time to settle into its final resting place, so avoid any trauma to the breast area, including heavy exercise.
If you’re having chest wall radiation after your mastectomy, you might want to consider delaying implant surgery until after your treatments have completed.
Capsular Contracture Treatment in Dallas
If you’re suffering from a capsular contracture, experiencing pain or stiffness of the breasts after implant surgery, or think you might be at-risk of developing one, give the offices of Dr. Adams a call at (214) 965-9885 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Adams is a world-renowned breast implant surgeon and can help fix your capsular contracture and get you on the road to recovery.