Treatment for Capsular Contracture After Breast Implants
One of the rare complications of breast implant augmentation is capsular contracture. This condition occurs when the scar tissue around the breast implant hardens, which can distort the shape of the breast and may also cause discomfort or a tight feeling. The cause of capsular contracture is not always known. It can be caused by a variety of contributing factors that cause abnormal changes to the scar tissue. Dr. Mendieta at 4Beauty Aesthetic Institute for Plastic Surgery offers advanced treatments for capsular contracture after breast implants at our medical clinic in Miami, FL.
What Causes Capsular Contracture After Breast Implant Augmentation?
There are several possible contributing factors to capsular contracture. While it is not always known why it occurs, there are some potential circumstances that can increase the risk of this complication. Some of the possible factors that can contribute to capsular contracture after breast implants include:
- Bacteria that create a biofilm around the implants
- Genetic factors – patients that have close relatives who have developed thick scar tissue or have certain autoimmune diseases may be at increased risk
- Trauma to the breast
- Smoking – patients who smoke are at higher risk for hematomas that can contribute to capsular contracture
Capsular contracture is not caused specifically by breast implants – thickened scar tissue can occur with any surgical implant.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Capsular Contracture?
There are four possible grades based on the severity of capsular contracture. The signs and symptoms vary depending on the grade and are as follows:
- Grade 1 – Patients may have no symptoms, and the breast will look and feel normal. However, there is excess or hardened scar tissue around the breast implant.
- Grade 2 – The breasts may feel firmer or harder to the touch from the capsular contracture, but the appearance usually is not affected.
- Grade 3 – Patients with grade 3 capsular contracture will have noticeable cosmetic concerns to the breasts. The breasts will be firm or hard and they may look too round, or the nipples may be distorted. There is not usually pain or discomfort.
- Grade 4 – The most severe symptoms are with grade 4, with misshapen and hard breasts like grade 3 but also with pain, discomfort or tenderness in the breasts.
The majority of symptoms of capsular contracture are cosmetic except for grade 4 discomfort. Capsular contracture does not pose a health risk, in most cases. Grades 3 or 4 could result in damage to the implant, which may require removal for health reasons.
Dr. Mendieta has been featured on numerous domestic and international television programs and publications, as well as a frequent lecturer in various professional society meetings.
What Are Treatment Options for Capsular Contracture?
Patients with capsular contracture do not necessarily need treatment unless they are experiencing unpleasant symptoms. Grade 3 and 4 patients may decide to have their breast implants and the scar tissue removed and revision breast implant surgery performed. Patients who have had capsular contracture are at risk for it again, but many times the revision breast implant procedure is successful without scar tissue concerns. Dr. Mendieta at 4Beauty Aesthetic Institute for Plastic Surgery can discuss the possible treatment options available to improve the appearance of the breasts and relieve any symptoms of capsular contracture.
Capsular Contracture FAQs
Can capsular contracture be prevented?
Patients can be screened for potential risk factors for capsular contracture, but there is no way to reduce all risks of this condition. Reducing risk factors like smoking and using the correct implant type, size and technique can help. Also, performing massage on the breasts after surgery may reduce the risk of capsular contracture.
How soon do symptoms of capsular contracture appear?
Most signs of capsular contracture occur within two years of breast implant surgery, but it is possible to have symptoms years after surgery.