Capsular contracture is a condition in which excessive scar tissue forms around breast implants, leaving the breasts misshaped and firm. Fortunately, capsular contracture is not as common as it was in years past. However, it can still occur today.
Women who develop this condition can address the issue with breast revision surgery at our Victoria, TX plastic surgery practice. Today, our team at South Texas Plastic Surgery explores capsular contracture symptoms and treatment.
What Causes Capsular Contracture?
Unfortunately, there is no single known cause of capsular contracture. However, experts believe it could be triggered by:
- Bacteria in the breast pocket or on the breast implant
- Excessive blood in the breast pocket
- Microscopic contamination of the breast pocket
- Injury or trauma to the breast muscles or tissues
Symptoms of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture can develop on one or both sides and can occur at any time. While most patients notice the condition within weeks of implant placement, some may go years before the first warning sign occurs.
Symptoms typically develop slowly and may include:
- Increasing firmness of the breast
- A distorted appearance (rippling or “ball-like”)
- Implants that appear to be moving higher on the chest
- Implants that appear smaller
- Implants that do not move freely
- Discomfort or tightness
Grades of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture is measured in grades. These include:
- Grade I: The breast is soft to the touch and appears normal in size and shape
- Grade II: Some firmness is evident, but the breast still looks normal
- Grade III: The breast is firm to the touch and has an irregular appearance
- Grade IV: The breast is firm, irregular, and painful to the touch
Treatment Options for Capsular Contracture
There are a few different treatment options for capsular contracture. The method recommended for you will depend on the grade of the condition as well as your personal preferences. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Medications: Mild cases of capsular contracture may be treatable with certain medications and supplements. For example, Vitamin E has been known to soften scar tissue, although the efficacy in regards to capsular contracture is only anecdotal. If a bacterial infection is suspected, a round of oral antibiotics may prove beneficial as well. However, it should be noted that this treatment method rarely treats the condition fully. In most cases, capsular contracture requires surgical intervention.
- Capsulotomy: During this procedure, your surgeon scores the scar tissue and removes portions of the capsule. This process provides more room for the breast implants, with the goal of mitigating troublesome symptoms of capsular contracture.
- Capsulectomy: Widely considered the most effective treatment for capsular contracture, a capsulectomy involves removing the entire capsule, or resulting scar tissue, along with the breast implant. The breast pocket is then thoroughly debrided before placing a new implant. When this treatment is performed, the risk of capsular contracture occurring again is very low.
Schedule a Consultation
Do your breasts feel too firm or look misshapen after your breast augmentation? You could have capsular contracture. To explore your treatment options for breast revision surgery, schedule a consultation at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or give us a call at (361) 576-1975.