Recognizing and Treating Capsular Contracture
By Oren Zvi Lerman, M.D. on July 17, 2018
Breast augmentation remains one of the most widely performed plastic surgery procedures. Breast augmentation enhances the size and shape of the breasts to improve a woman’s figure and boost her confidence level. For an overwhelming number of patients, breast surgery has provided desired results without any post-surgical complications.
Unfortunately, in rare cases, complications do occur. One of the most common risks following breast augmentation is capsular contracture. This condition is characterized by implants that feel hard or painful; they may even be distorted in shape.
With appropriate treatment, patients can regain the shapely, attractive bustline they desire. Here, experienced plastic surgeon Oren Lermen discusses capsular contracture symptoms, and treatment options available to his Manhattan, NY patients.
Symptoms of Capsular Contracture
When breast implants are placed, the body recognizes them as a foreign object. As a natural protective response, the body will form a layer of scar tissue around the implants. This layer of scar tissue is completely normal, and its presence alone will not create any complications for the patient.
Unfortunately, in a small number of cases, scar tissue will squeeze and contract around the breast implant. This condition is known as capsular contracture.
Capsular contracture typically develops within a few months of the initial breast implant surgery. However, capsular contracture can develop at any time, even years after breast augmentation. For this reason, it is especially important for patients to recognize the symptoms of capsular contracture so they can seek treatment in a timely manner.
The most common symptoms of capsular contracture include the following:
- Breasts that seem to sit high on the chest
- Misshapen or unnatural looking breasts
- Breasts that feel firm and tight
- A round, ball-like shape of the breasts
- Pain or discomfort, especially when lying on the breasts
When symptoms of capsular contracture develop, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Capsular contracture treatment will not only relieve any uncomfortable side effects of this condition, but will also restore a more attractive and natural-looking bustline.
Generally, patients can consider either non-surgical or surgical treatment options.
Many patients are reluctant to undergo surgery again following breast augmentation, so non-surgical capsular contracture treatment sounds appealing. Non-surgical treatment methods include the use of oral vitamin E, anti-inflammatory medication, and the administration of ultrasonic waves to break up and soften scar tissue. Unfortunately, the success of these treatment methods varies, and none have consistently been proven to effectively treat the condition.
Surgery is the only capsular contracture treatment method with a proven record of effectiveness. This treatment involves performing a revision breast augmentation surgery in which the scar capsule is broken up and removed.
In most cases, the affected implant is also removed, and is replaced with a new breast implant that is placed in a new implant pocket. This is the best way to treat capsular contracture and minimize the risk of a reoccurrence.
If you are interested in learning more about breast augmentation, or have already undergone breast augmentation and are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms of capsular contracture, contact us at your earliest convenience. Experienced plastic surgeon Oren Z. Lerman can provide the treatment you need to improve the size and shape of your bustline.