What is Capsular Contracture?

After breast augmentation, your body creates a thin layer of scar around the implant. This is a normal response to the implant. Typically, the scar is soft, thin, and natural. However, in some cases, the capsule can become thicker and tighter. This is called capsular contracture and can occur at any time after breast augmentation, including years later.

What causes capsular contracture?

The cause of capsular contracture is unclear but may be linked to trauma to the breast, radiation, or a sub-clinical infection (an infection that is not detectable). In late-onset capsular contracture, the cause may be due to rupture of the implant. Measures are taken during surgery to reduce the risks of developing capsular contracture, including placement of the breast implant under the chest muscle (pectoralis major), use of antibacterial wash during surgery, and placement of the implant through a funnel to avoid contact with the skin. Sometimes, despite these measures, capsular contracture can still occur.

Do I have capsular contracture?

The signs or symptoms associated with capsular contracture include breast pain/discomfort, tightening of the breast or implant, and/or asymmetry of the breasts or implants. Capsular contracture can change the shape of the breast and symptoms can worsen gradually over time. There are different grades of capsular contracture depending on the severity of symptoms, ranging from grade 1 to grade 4. Typically, grades 3 and 4 capsular contracture are severe enough to warrant surgical treatment.

Routine breast implant screening is important after breast augmentation surgery so complications can be caught and addressed as early as possible.

How is capsular contracture treated?

If capsular contracture is detected on examination, surgical treatment may be a treatment option for you. Surgical treatment of capsular contracture includes removing the breast implant with the associated scar tissue (capsulectomy). A new implant can be placed at that time. Typically, this surgery is done under anesthesia and on an outpatient basis. The recovery time is about one week, though you may be required to wear a soft surgical bra for one to two weeks.

If you have questions or would like to be examined for capsular contracture, contact Dr. Aboutanos for consultation.