What is Breast Implant Capsular Contracture?

Posted February 20, 2016 in Breast Asymmetry, Breast Augmentation, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Capsular Contracture, Home

Breast Augmentation remains the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedure year after year. Breast Implants enlarge small breasts, whether you were born with small breast, lost breast volume with weight loss or your children have sucked the life out of your breasts. Capsular Contracture can interfere with good results, but before I explain what Capsular Contracture is, I need to discuss Breast Augmentation and normal healing.

How Do Breast Implants Stay In Place?

During Breast Augmentation surgery, the Breast Implants are carefully positioned. A pocket is made, often behind the pectoralis major muscle, to the dimensions required. The size of the pocket is determined by the dimensions of the breast implant used, and the implant is determined by your anatomy and the amount of augmentation desired.

What is the Breast Implant Pocket?

Breast Augmentation depends of the formation of a proper Breast Implant Pocket for the best results.

Breast Augmentation depends of the formation of a proper Breast Implant Pocket for the best results.

After Breast Augmentation surgery, your body will naturally form a pocket, lined with collagen, that encapsulates the breast implant. Ideally, the capsule is tight enough to keep the implant from moving, but not so tight that the augmentation feels hard.

With Breast Implants, Size Matters

The size and shape of the Breast Implant is important to get the optimal breast shape. Your cosmetic result is determined by a combination of a good plan, good surgery, good healing and little good luck doesn’t hurt either.

  • A Good Plan is formulated before surgery, during your consultation appointment. It should be tailored to your anatomy and your goals. Good communication is critical. It takes teamwork to get a good result, so the best way to start your Breast Augmentation journey is with an experienced plastic surgeon whom with you communicate well.
  • Good Surgery is only possible after a good plan is agreed upon. Just like the consultation, there is teamwork involved with the surgery, too. As the patient, you have to prepare yourself properly before surgery, and after surgery, you need give your body time to heal and adjust to the breast implants. The surgeon is responsible for the actual Breast Augmentation procedure. While exact results can never be guaranteed, choosing an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon maximizes the predictability and safety of your procedure.
  • Most patients have Good Healing. The majority of healing is how your body responds to the procedure. Following your surgeon’s postoperative instructions and cooperating with their aftercare helps improve your outcome. Each surgeon will have individual variations in care, depending on the technique they use, their experience and most importantly, you. The Internet is unlikely to provide you with a better plan, so any knowledge you receive online, even from the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog, should be discussed with your surgeon prior to implementation. Even if you are my patient, I will construct a specific plan for you. Given the specifics of your situation, I will adapt your surgery to you, rather than the generic Internet breast aug patient.

The Breast Implant Pocket

When it comes to great results, the Breast Implant Pocket is second only to selecting the proper implant in importance. The proper breast pocket supports the breast implant and protects it. The pocket needs to be both in the proper place and of the proper size. A pocket in the wrong position means your implant is in the wrong position, but the size of the pocket matters equally.

With Breast Pockets, Size Matters Too

A pocket that is the wrong size will diminish your results. A pocket that is too large results in a implant that moves around too much. The implants in a pocket that is too large may fall under your armpits when you lay down, or bottom-out when you stand.

When the Breast Implant Pocket is too big, the breast implant does not have sufficient support. The result is breast implant malposition with Bottoming-Out when standing. A capsulorrhaphy was performed to close the lower pocket and increase the breast implant's support.

When the Breast Implant Pocket is too big, the breast implant does not have sufficient support. The result is breast implant malposition with Bottoming-Out when standing. A capsulorrhaphy was performed to close the lower pocket and increase the breast implant’s support.

A pocket that is too small squeezes the implant, and makes it immobile. A tight pocket makes the breast implant feel hard and may over time move the implant away from its ideal position. When this happens it is called Capsular Contracture.

Capsular Contracture

So, Capsular Contracture is when the normally helpful breast implant pocket becomes too tight. It is one of the most common reasons for Breast Augmentation Revision. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most unpredictable problems associated with Breast Implants.

Capsular Contracture results in a compressed breast implant that looks, smaller, feels harder and in the worst case scenario hurts. A capsulectomy and breast implant exchange was performed to provide this patient with softer, larger, painless breasts that look and feel better.

Capsular Contracture results in a compressed breast implant that looks, smaller, feels harder and in the worst case scenario hurts. A capsulectomy and breast implant exchange was performed to provide this patient with softer, larger, painless breasts that look and feel better.

Treatments for Capsular Contracture vary with the problems it is causing. Thin, tight capsules can often be opened by dividing them with a Capsulotomy. Thick, tight capsules may require complete removal with a Capsulectomy. Sometimes replacement of the breast implant is recommended, and sometimes ADM patches are recommended, to help prevent recurrence of the Capsular Contracture.

Breast Augmentation

If you are considering Breast Augmentation, or if you have breast implants and are considering Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery in the San Francisco Bay Area, give me a call at (925) 943-6353. A brief consultation appointment is usually all that is needed to review the details of your case and to formulate a plan that makes sense for you.