Capsular contraction occurs within some patients who have undergone a breast augmentation surgery. In such a case, scar tissue formed around the breasts causes them to harden and distorts the appearance of breasts.
Except being aesthetically unacceptable, capsular contracture can further lead to serious health complications. Fortunately, there are techniques designed reduce the risk of capsular contracture.
It is not known what causes capsular contracture, but it can occur sometimes within patients who have recently had breast augmentation surgery. The tightening of the capsule that occurs and the hardening of the breasts causes discomfort and makes breasts appear and feel different.
A capsular contracture causes the breasts to feel and appear differently, and some of the symptoms associated with it include:
In certain cases, the symptoms are mild so you can feel them although they are not visible. But a severe rippling of the breasts will be very visible as bands of scar tissue compress parts of the implant. Most patients experience hardening of the breasts and this is the most common symptom. The breasts are unnaturally shaped and appear as a baseball, round and hard. The implant may also be sitting higher than it was intended to be, causing additional discomfort. Apart from looking unnatural and aesthetically unacceptable, these symptoms can also be very painful.
There are four categories into which your breast condition can be classified:
The risks of developing a capsular contracture include:
There are certain techniques and methods to reduce the risk of capsular contracture, and they start with the initial surgery or breast augmentation. It is necessary that the surgeon is extremely careful and that he meticulously handles tissues and paying attention to bleeding or fluid buildup during the procedure. This can prevent the occurrence of capsular contracture.
Another way to reduce the risk of capsular contracture is to rinse the body with antiseptic several times prior to the surgery to reduce the bacteria in the area which is to be operated on. It is important to mention that despite being extremely careful before and during the procedure, there are still chances for the occurrence of capsular contracture. Each procedure carries about 20 to 30% risk that a capsular contracture may occur, and in such a case, proper treatment is necessary.
The treatment of capsular contracture has significantly improved with recent technology, so this problem can be treated. In order to start the treatment, you must first refer to a board-certified surgeon with lots of training and experience in this area. Your surgeon will first identify the problem and then act accordingly. In order to apply the treatment technique, your breast should be classified into grade III or IV of the above-mentioned scale.
There is an alternative to surgery, although it does not solve the problem for every patient. Your treatments may begin with medications which can help soften the breast, but usually, surgical intervention is necessary. However, a small number of patients does notice improvement and the problem is successfully resolved with medical treatment. In more severe cases, patients will undergo capsular contracture surgery to correct the problem.
The surgical treatment for this condition which is known to be the most effective is called a total capsulectomy, which means the implant and the capsule are removed together. By doing this, your surgeon removes all the contaminants that may have caused the inflammation which triggered the problem. Once this is completed, a new implant is then placed preventing scar formation around the implant. This technique also minimizes the risk of contamination. This is known as the most successful method of treating capsular contracture and there is less than 1% chance that the problem will reoccur.
It is very important that you prepare for the surgery according to your doctor’s instructions. Your surgeon will advise you on the treatment and discuss with you the pros and cons of the procedure.
You may be required to stop smoking at lest least two weeks prior to the surgery, keeping in mind that you should not start smoking again for another two weeks after the operation. Ideally, you will stop smoking altogether.
It is recommended and necessary that you arrange for someone to take you home after the surgery and take care of your for several days after the procedure. You will not be able to return to work for a while, so you should take some time off.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so it may take up to two days to fully recover from it. Your breasts will be bruised and sore for the first week of the recovery process, and this is normal. You may be in pain so your doctor will prescribe pain medication. You will be required to wear a compression bra.
It is recommended that you start walking around a little bit soon after the procedure, so as to prevent the formation of blood clots. You will not be allowed to engage in a physical activity like heavy lifting or exercise during the first six weeks. You will have follow-up appointments with your surgeon and he will give you detailed instruction for recovery that you should follow carefully.