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Should I Be Worried About Capsular Contracture?

woman touching chestCapsular contracture is a potential complication that can result from breast augmentation with implants. It occurs when the thin lining of scar tissue that naturally forms around a breast implant hardens and constricts the implant.

There are varying degrees of capsular contracture; in the most severe form, the breast could become distorted and painful, but at the beginning stage of capsular contracture the breast usually feels a little firm but appears natural. The causes of capsular contracture remain unknown but may be related to bleeding, infection, or seroma (fluid collection).

How to Reduce the Risk of Capsular Contracture

Since there is no single definitive cause of capsular contracture, there is not one definitive way to prevent it. However, research has shown that fewer occurrences of capsular contracture may be associated with the following:

Inframammary Incision

There may be a slightly higher incidence of capsular contracture when implants are placed through the areolar incision as opposed to an incision in the breast fold. This may be due to a higher bacterial burden around the nipple that can cause a subclinical infection that will not make you sick but can be enough to cause an inflammatory reaction in the breast and around the implant. Dr. Mesbahi will discuss the various incision possibilities with you so you can make the most informed decision.

Textured Implants

Studies have shown that textured implants may discourage hardened scar tissue from forming when the implant is placed above the pectoral muscle (subglandular). This benefit is limited when the implant is placed beneath the muscle (submuscular).  However, the overall risk of capsular contracture is generally considered to be higher for subglandular implant placement.

Submuscular Placement

Studies have shown that the risk of capsular contracture is higher when implants are placed above the pectoral muscle. This may be due to contact between the implant and the breast tissue or ducts that can lead to infection.

Following Postoperative Instructions

Overactivity after surgery can cause of many of the complications that can result from breast augmentation. Dr. Mesbahi will give each of his patients a customized postoperative plan. Lifting heavy objects or exercising before your surgeon recommends can lead to capsular contracture, increased pain, and possibly the need for breast revision surgery.

Choosing a Highly Skilled Surgeon

Although the causes of capsular contracture are based on several factors that are often uncontrollable and unpredictable, choosing a highly skilled surgeon can decrease your risk. The right surgeon will have many years of experience as a breast augmentation specialist, strict standards regarding sterilization protocol, and knowledge of the most advanced and proven techniques for the procedure.

Breast Revision to Correct Capsular Contracture

Although capsular contracture can be a frustrating complication for women to experience, potential patients should know that it can be corrected with revision surgery. Dr. Mesbahi will remove the implant and excise the scar tissue. A new pocket is formed, and a new implant is inserted if the patient desires.

If you are considering breast augmentation in the Washington D.C. area, please schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alex N. Mesbahi. With many years of experience with satisfied breast augmentation patients, Dr. Mesbahi is a surgeon you can trust. Please call (703) 287-8277 today or fill out our online contact form for more information.