Capsular contracture is something that both new and existing breast augmentation patients need to be aware of. Studies show that capsular contracture only affects around 12% of patients but it is still possible, which is why it helps to understand this complication.

Capsular contracture occurs when a scar tissue capsule forms around the breast implant. While this is a normal response, if this capsule thickens or contracts, it can harden the breast and shift or distort the implant, which can be painful. Unfortunately, capsular contracture will require you to visit your surgeon.

Capsular Contracture: The Causes

At the moment there is no definitive research that explains the exact cause of capsular contracture. The most common theory is that the complication is caused by the presence of bacteria in the implant pocket. 

It’s also not possible to predict which patients will experience capsular contracture following their breast augmentation surgery. However, there are a few risk factors that can increase the chances of it occurring, including autoimmune disorders, past radiation therapy, smoking and post-surgical complications such as infection.

According to this breast implants information, overseas breast augmentation surgery can increase your risk of infection, which is why it’s always highly recommended that you consult with a reputable and experience Australian surgeon instead.

Capsular Contracture: The Symptoms

Capsular contracture can occur at any time but in general, if patients are going to experience it, it will be within the first two years after their surgery. Symptoms usually show up gradually and start as a tightening of the breasts. As the symptoms progress, the breasts become more painful. 

Preventing & Treating Capsular Contracture

While there are no guarantees that capsular contracture can be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risks, including:

  • Sub-muscular implant placement. By placing the implant underneath the chest muscle, there is a much lower risk of scar tissue developing around the implant. This is mainly because there isn’t as much contact between the implant and the breast tissue. 
  • Use of proper surgical techniques. The more sterile the surgical environment, the lower the chances that capsular contracture will occur. Factors that can influence the surgical process include how a surgeon handles the implant, how the environment is sterilized prior to the procedure, antibiotic irrigation of the implant pocket and how the breast tissue is handled during surgery. 
  • Massaging the breasts following surgery. Many surgeons recommend that patients gently massage the breasts following their procedure but this should only be done if your surgeon recommends it and has demonstrated the correct techniques to use.
  • aking the full course of antibiotics. Antibiotics will be prescribed after a breast augmentation procedure and it’s important to complete this course of antibiotics in order to decrease the risk of infection. 

In terms of treating capsular contracture, there are oral medications that can reverse the effects but in most cases, breast implant revision surgery will be required. During this procedure, the affected implant will be removed and the scar tissue will be cleared out of the breast pocket. A new implant will then need to be inserted.