Women who have had breast implant surgery can certainly expect to sit back and enjoy their new, more curvaceous physique. However in a small proportion of people in the years post-operatively, they can develop a condition called capsular contracture.
A capsule or scar tissue develops naturally around any foreign body (breast implant) and is an essential safeguard deployed by the body to protect you from foreign materials. The capsule usually exists without being problematic, however in a small proportion of people, the breast can become firm to the touch or more rounded as the fibrous scar tissue encases the soft silicone implant and begins to tighten.
If capsular contracture occurs, the capsule will toughen in texture. This hardening of the tissue will cause the capsule to tighten around the implant and squeeze it. This may cause the shape of the breast to change, becoming distorted and adopting a higher position on the chest. It can become uncomfortable and, in some cases, even painful, it does not make you otherwise unwell.
Unfortunately not only can ‘capsular contracture’ be uncomfortable, distort the appearance and feel of the augmented breast(s), it can eventually damage the integrity of the implant casing it to leak or rupture.
Capsular contracture is most likely to occur if someone has had breast implants for a long time, suffered a post-operative complication such as a haematoma (bleed) or has had radiation therapy as part of a breast cancer/reconstruction sequence. Other factors that have been linked to the development of capsular contraction include infection, ruptured implants and skin types that produces particularly thickened scars.
Like all scarring, capsular contracture is neither predictable nor preventable and can be an unplanned but unavoidable consequence of implant surgery.
Should such a complication occur, the diagnosis is clinical and multiple options are available from removing the implant and some/all of the capsule to releasing the capsule and replacing the implants, changing the type of implant, plane of insertion and/or adding fat transfer. Rozina’s extensive career as a breast reconstructive surgeon have honed her considered approach and ability to analyse and simplify complex algorithms into easy to understand choices, depending on your desired outcome. Rozina will be happy to advise and guide you to make the best decision for your needs.