3 Signs Of Capsular Contracture: Is Breast Implant Revision Needed?

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3 Signs Of Capsular Contracture: Is Breast Implant Revision Needed?

Complications With Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular plastic surgeries completed today. More and more women increase breast size and profile by installing silicone or saline implants. While breast implants improve confidence, there is always the risk of complications. Some complications happen at the surgical site, like infections or post-operative pain. However, capsular contracture is the single most important complication as this can determine the future viability of the implant. Identifying and treating capsular contracture can help women enjoy the surgery results.

What is capsular contracture?

During breast augmentation, the surgeon makes a pocket within the breast to house the implant. Over time, the tissue forms a scar-like seal around the implant as part of the healing process. This capsule happens whether the implant is placed above or below the muscle. Capsular contracture is relatively rare, occurring when the tissue thickens and hardens, putting pressure on the implant. This complication can happen over the space of months and in some cases, years. There are 3 signs that indicate capsular contracture is occurring.

1. Does your skin feel tighter?

With capsular contracture, the collagen fibers around the implant become tighter. Some women feel this squeezing sensation around the breast. The skin near the implant also feels stretched. Over time, the taut skin is accompanied by pain and tenderness. There will be discomfort in certain situations, like wearing a sports bra or swimsuit.

2. A bit of rippling

As the scar tissue tightens the implant, the implant may begin to show specific impressions on the skin. Women will notice rippling, especially with saline implants, along the bottom edges of the implant. Silicone or gummy bear implants can produce a rounder appearance. This rippling can occur even a few weeks after surgery.

3. Changes in shape or position

As the scar tissue constricts the implant, some women may notice the breast becomes smaller. In some cases, the breast shape changes, with a noticeable difference between the two breasts. In severe cases of capsular contracture, the breast moves out of position, either riding high on the chest or shifting downward.

Do you need breast implant revision?

Women must take signs of capsular contracture seriously, so see the plastic surgeon immediately. The surgeon will review the breast using physical tests and imaging, then grade the capsular contracture. The surgeon recommends massage therapy and other techniques for better blood flow to treat early signs. However, grades 3 and 4 require breast implant revision since the position or shape of the breast changed.

Making the change

The surgeon will have a few options. Most patients will opt for breast implant revision. This could involve capsulectomy, removing the implant and scar tissue, then reinstalling the implant. An additional protective layer is placed around the implant to prevent future capsular contraction. Some women opt to remove the breast implant altogether. The available options and technologies continue to grow and evolve, so patients can quickly treat this complication.

Don’t ignore the signs

Who doesn’t want the perfect new pair of breasts? But, sometimes, the new breast implants can bring some new problems. Look for the signs of capsular contracture and take the next step to address the issue.

Contact John Park MD Plastic Surgery

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