Regardless of the skills and expertise of a plastic surgeon, complications during or after breast surgery can arise. One of the main reasons behind it is because everyone’s body is different. Since the composition of connective tissues varies from one patient to another, there is a unique healing process for every person. For some, there is a possibility of a complex and dense scar tissue formation. This condition, called breast implant capsular contracture, causes chronic pain and distortion in the breast shape and placement.
If you develop breast implant capsular contraction, you can correct the problem with the proper treatment. Several options, including revision surgery and non-surgical therapy, are available depending on the severity of the scar tissue formation. However, it is still best to prevent and lower the risk of developing one.
What is Breast Implant Capsular Contracture?
Our body consists of a protective network of cells and proteins called the immune system. This system helps defend our body against infection and defeats any foreign object that enters. In breast augmentation surgery, the body can falsely identify the silicone gel as a foreign object. It dictates the immune system to isolate the silicone gel by forming a barrier of scar tissue. This attempt leads to the development of a hard mass that grows around the implant.
Aesthetic and functional concerns can arise and cause uncomfortable pain in extreme cases. Although, there is also a possibility for a breast capsular contracture will show no apparent symptoms. For a more in-depth approach, experts rate the severity of the condition using a grading system as follows:
- Grade one (Asymptomatic). This level of breast implant capsular contracture does not show or produce any symptoms. The scar tissue formation around the silicone gel does not interfere with the breasts’ texture, size, and shape.
- Grade two (Minor cosmetic symptoms). On a grade two capsular contracture, the breasts appear visually normal. However, there is some form of tenderness when you touch the area.
- Grade three (Visual and functional symptoms). An abnormal formation along the breast area is a clear sign of a grade three capsular contracture. It may appear a misshapen, hard-looking, and overly round. Aside from the aesthetic concern, the breast area becomes firmer to the touch.
- Grade four (Uncontrollable pain). Aside from a visible physical abnormality, the highest level of capsular contracture manifests breast soreness. There is an inflammation and tenderness accompanied by a painful sensation, making it uncomfortable to the person.
Who Is at Risk of Capsular Contracture?
People who’ve had radiation therapy are at a greater risk to develop capsular contracture. Although, there are still other factors waiting to be well-addressed. Several pieces of research are pointing at other plausible reasons, including ruptures around the silicone gel, haematoma, infection, and genetic scar tissue predisposition.
When Should I See A Doctor?
Signs and symptoms of capsular contracture may start to appear as early as a few weeks following the breast augmentation surgery. However, complication can also develop several years later. If you happen to notice some changes in your breasts, especially around the area where the silicone gel is present, you may want to call a doctor immediately.
Considering early detection and treatment can prevent worsening the condition. If you wait for the capsular contracture to develop fully, it can cause chronic pain and restrictive motion, which can be more challenging to sort out. Instead of making the revision surgery more complicated, it is best to control its progress as soon as possible.
What Are Corrective Surgery Options Available?
To correct breast implant capsular contracture, some approach for reconstructive surgery techniques are as follows:
A capsulectomy is the process of removing the silicone gel implant as well as its surrounding capsule. Your surgeon will introduce a new implant wrapped in a thin sheet of the dermal matrix during this procedure. The dermal matrix is a protective material that provides an extra layer of protection so that the body will not recognise it as a foreign object.
This revision surgery is a more invasive process wherein your plastic surgeon creates incisions around the breast tissue. The opening will allow the surgeon to remove some of the capsules and make enough room for the implant to move around. In some cases, your surgeon may replace the silicone gel with a new one.
Autologous reconstruction involves the complete removal of the silicone gel and reconstruction of the breast using tissues coming from other parts of your body. Most plastic surgeons recommend this procedure to avoid the recurrence of capsular contracture, as the body will recognise its tissue. While this surgery is the best option, the treatment process may take some time. It involves a complex operation, and recovery is much longer than other options.
How to Prevent Capsular Contracture?
Although it is impossible to prevent the occurrence of capsular contracture, various ways can help lower the risk of developing one. Plastic surgeons play a vital role in the implementation of preventive strategies such as:
- Patient screening
Prior to surgery, it is essential to undergo thorough screening. It helps assess the patient for health conditions that may interfere with the procedure and recovery. Patients are required to quit several habits, mainly smoking, as it impairs the healing process and increases the likelihood of developing complications.
- Size of implants
Breast implants come in different sizes. It is vital to use the correct size of implant to eliminate the risk of haematoma. If you want to increase your cup size significantly, it is better to do breast augmentation in stages. This approach will allow your skin to have more time to stretch before using a larger one.
- Handling of implants
There is a significant risk of bacterial infection and contamination during surgery. A surgeon should be careful in handling the breast implant as it is only advisable to place it into the breasts if there is no risk of bacterial contamination. Little to no touch of the implant will help lower the risk of transferring foreign matter. It is crucial to find a surgeon who is aware of the strict limits of implant handling.
- Placement of implants
Implants, particularly those that are present as silicone gels, should follow a proper placement. Most surgeons recommend placing the implant under the chest muscles to lower any possibilities of capsular contracture. Be sure that your surgeon is a board-certified professional and has undergone proper training for safe and effective breast augmentation.
- Massage therapy
After the surgery, the medical staff will provide the necessary after-care reminders. One of the most critical parts of these reminders is to perform a regular massage while in the recovery period. It encourages the breast tissues to maintain their flexibility and softness. However, it would be best if you never put too much pressure on your breasts. Otherwise, you may contribute to damaging the tissues and increase the risk for capsular contracture.
Your Trusted Surgeons for Breast Augmentation
Do you want to enhance your figure but worry about complications? At Refine Cosmetic Clinic you will experience a safe and effective surgical procedure from board-certified plastic surgeons that will help you achieve optimal results.
To know more, call us today and book your appointment.