June 2020

How common is capsular contracture after breast augmentation?

breast augmentation

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how skilled the surgeon is, complications can occur in all sorts of procedures. Everyone’s body is different and will react to surgery differently. When it comes to breast augmentation, the connective tissue composition will vary from patient to patient. Even the healing process is entirely different for each patient. Some people can be left with thick scar tissue after the skin has been penetrated. Other patients can suffer deep cuts and can develop scarring, which in some cases can fade. Another good example is when some women suffer stretch marks during pregnancy no matter how much they are doing to prevent them, while others who make no effort come away from the experience mostly stretch mark free. Everyone’s immune system will respond differently to the variety of stimuli as some will react very poorly to medical implants such as those in the breast.

Although with technology these days complications are very rare, they can still arise even during plastic surgery procedures. The patients who are prone to suffering from thick scar tissue will most often be advised not to have any plastic surgery performed, or special techniques during surgery may be required. The breast implant procedure can be done through an incision in the underarm so that the scarring is most often out of sight. The patients that are suffering from compromised immune systems will be advised to forego the surgery with a less invasive form of enhancement if possible. Some people will need different aftercare treatment and even rehabilitation to treat the complications after the surgery. Treatment for capsular contracture is also available after you have had breast augmentation.

What exactly is capsular contracture?

breast implants

The formation of scar tissue that forms around a breast implant is quite normal when you are healing. The body is reacting to the object it classes as ‘foreign’ and is attempting to isolate the implants, this then creates a thick layer of scar tissue. In breast implants, it is classed as a good thing as the capsule will help the implants to avoid slipping. However it’s worth noting that in some patients the scar tissue becomes extremely hard and will start to contract all around the implant. This can lead to not only appearance problems, but in worse case scenarios it can lead to constant pain within the breast area. 

Research shows that about one in six breasts augmentations patients will go through capsule contracture, so it is fairly common. Most commonly the contracture will occur throughout the healing process. In 75% of the capsular contracture cases it will occur within the first three years of the implants being implanted. Capsular contractures can also occur many years after the breast surgery, this is not very common though. Ruptured implants are the most common cause of late on-set capsular contracture.

Aspen therapy is quite popular as a treatment option and is preferred because it is non-invasive and doesn’t cause pain or inconvenience. It works by applying ultrasound waves to the tissue to encourage the growth of healthy collagen. A special device is applied to the breast tissue without any incisions being made. There are numerous treatment options available for the capsular contracture. If you are choosing any treatment options, these should depend on how severe the case is and what treatment your doctor recommends  is the best for you.