capsular contracture

Understanding capsular contracture

Your plastic surgeon will work meticulously and diligently to avoid potential risks following cosmetic surgery but sometimes complications are unavoidable. While there are many factors that can be studied and analysed to ensure that patients get the right treatment and recovery plan for them, there are some things which are out of surgeons’ control.

One of these is a condition called capsular contracture which can occur following breast augmentation surgery. Capsular contracture is an autoimmune condition that affects the body’s ability to create scar tissue.

The body’s natural response is to create a film of scar tissue around a foreign body such as an implant, but it becomes a problem if too much scar tissue is formed and it hardens, constricting the implant. This is not something that can be predicted unless the patient has suffered from this before.

Scar tissue is created by the body in response to an incision or wound. The cells create new tissue to fuse the gap, but this is always courser than the original tissue and has slightly different properties. For many of us, scar tissue will form and then the scar will fade over time. Depending on the depth of the incision, some will fade entirely.

When breast implants are inserted, the normal development of scar tissue actually helps keep the implants in the right location within the chest. For people who develop capsular contracture, however, the scar tissue is created in abundance and this can cause problems for implants. Problems can include:

  • Discomfort in the breasts
  • Pressure on the implants which can push them higher up the chest than is desired
  • Uneven look and feel to the skin

If you have had breast implants and believe you are experiencing capsular contracture as you heal then consult your plastic surgeon for an assessment. In some cases, revision surgery is required to address the problem.

How likely am I to develop capsular contracture?

This condition is quite common and varies from being so mild that patients are completely unaware of it, to other cases where the symptoms above are discovered. The risk of serious capsular contracture is low and Mr Alan Park will do everything he can in the pre-operative planning to reduce the risk.