What Causes Breast Implant Encapsulation? Going Back To The Surgeon For Capsulectomy


What Causes Breast Implant Encapsulation? Going Back To The Surgeon For Capsulectomy

Correcting Encapsulation With Capsulectomy

Women interested in breast augmentation often research the risks associated with implants. While the procedure is generally safe, breast implant encapsulation is a potential long-term threat. This condition, also called capsular contracture, is correctable, often with a follow-up procedure called capsulectomy. Many women want to know what causes breast implant encapsulation in the first place. Understanding the causes and signs of encapsulation can help women take action and keep the implants.

What is capsular contracture?

Breast augmentation involves inserting silicone or saline implants into the breast. The implant is placed in front of or behind the chest wall muscle. Over time, scar tissue begins to form around the implant. This natural process occurs with all implants and is the body’s typical response to a foreign object. However, scar tissue overgrowth can severely squeeze and constrict the implant. Capsular contracture can lead to unpleasant symptoms and sometimes requires a visit to the surgeon who performed the breast augmentation.

Possible causes of encapsulation

There is no clear answer for why some women experience breast implant encapsulation while other individuals do not. Yet, there are some possible reasons for this condition. A potential risk factor is bacterial contamination during surgery, leading to additional inflammation. A hematoma, or collection of blood in a specific area, can also increase the chances of capsular contracture. Other possible causes include a ruptured implant, infection, or underlying medical conditions. Some of these causes may combine to contribute to a higher risk of encapsulation.

Is your implant encapsulated?

Some women experience capsular contracture with minimal symptoms, ignoring the issue for several years. However, most individuals with the problem will notice some changes as the scar tissue begins to form around the implant. These symptoms include hardness or firmness to the touch, periodic sharp pains, or a misshapen breast. Signs of infection, like inflammation, tenderness, and fever, may also appear. Other possible symptoms include rippling of the skin and asymmetric or misshapen breasts.

Returning to the surgeon

Noticing the symptoms is crucial for taking action, relieving pain, and restoring the implants. Additionally, if the symptoms negatively affect the quality of life, schedule a follow-up appointment immediately. The surgeon will perform physical tests and x-rays to determine the extent of encapsulation. The encapsulation is sometimes graded 1-4, with 4 being the most severe case. In most cases, capsulectomy is necessary to remove and possibly replace the implant. Capsulectomy should help with symptoms, allowing the patient to get back to enjoying the initial breast augmentation.

Correcting encapsulation with surgery

Capsulectomy is a standard cosmetic procedure that follows the same general steps of breast augmentation. The surgeon will often adjust or remove the encapsulated implant through the same incision created by breast augmentation. Adjustments include cutting away the scar tissue causing encapsulation. In most cases, the capsule and implant are removed. The patient will agree beforehand to remove or replace the implant permanently. The implant is often replaced with a different type and in a different location. Sometimes, a special graft is installed to reduce the chances of another encapsulation. The procedure has a similar recovery timeline to breast augmentation.

The future of your implants

Capsular contracture is a painful complication that can happen to any patient who undergoes augmentation. The breast tissue will aim to isolate the implant, which can then create excess scarring and encapsulation. The resulting pain and asymmetric breasts often impact the woman’s quality of life. Correcting the problem with capsulectomy ensures a healthy implant future. The sooner women with implant encapsulation take action, the better.

Contact John Park MD Plastic Surgery

Please call (949) 777-6883 or use the contact form below to send us an email.