Understanding Capsular Contracture And Breast Augmentation

If you are interested in breast augmentation, then you should speak with your plastic surgeon about the various risks associated with the operation. Risks that include bleeding, infection, respiratory distress, and side effects from anesthesia are all common with these types of surgical procedures. When it comes to implant surgery, you also need to worry about something called capsular contracture. This is an issue that you may not experience right away, but it can occur within two years of your initial surgery. Preventing the problem starts directly after your operation, though.

What Is Capsular Contracture?

Capsular contracture is a condition where scar tissue develops internally and creates a capsule around the implant. This capsule places significant stress on the implant and the pressure can cause it to rupture. Before this happens, the implant will appear misshapen, hard, and stiff. Also, you are likely to feel a great deal of discomfort and swelling around the chest as the condition develops.

Under normal circumstances, the body creates a capsule around the breast implants. This capsule is formed from scar tissue and it develops during the healing process as the body responds to the trauma of the surgery and the implantation of the foreign implant material. In some cases, the body will produce a significant amount of scar tissue and the tissue will often continue forming. When this happens, the capsule becomes tighter and tighter around the implant and capsular contracture occurs.

The vast majority of contracture issues will start within several months of the initial augmentation surgery. While the issue can develop in anyone who has undergone a breast implant procedure, it is more common if you have one or several risk factors. These include the presence of an autoimmune disorder, trauma to the chest after surgery, and the presence of hematomas after the operation. Also, if you must undergo radiation therapy, then you may be more at risk of developing a capsular contracture issue. 

The only true and guaranteed treatment for the issue is the removal of the breast implants. Due to this, it is wise to prevent the issue as best you can.

How Can It Be Prevented?

While certain causes and risk factors linked to capsular contracture cannot be controlled, you can do several things to prevent the problem if uncontrollable risk factors are not present. For example, you should prevent bleeding and the formation of excessive scar tissue by avoiding anything that can thin the blood for the first few weeks after your procedure. Alcohol, aspirin, fish oil, and vitamin E are a few of the most common blood thinners that you are likely to consume. You should know that even ibuprofen can thin the blood, so make sure to speak with your physician about the types of pain relievers that are safe. Most typically, anything that contains acetaminophen is a good choice. 

Massaging the implants starting soon after the operation is complete is a good way to reduce the formation of scar tissue. However, you should know that massage is often only suggested if you have a smooth implant. If you have a textured one, then the texture is meant to prevent contracture. Not all surgeons use the textured implants and prefer the smooth ones instead.

Check with your surgeon to make sure you have smooth implants and then ask about appropriate massage techniques. There are several different techniques that include upward, downward, medial, and lateral massage. Medium to light pressure should be used to massage directly after surgery, but your surgeon may suggest firmer pressure once you start to heal.

Make sure to stop the massage if you notice sharp pains, bleeding, hot skin, or a misshapen appearance of the breasts. Seek out care with your surgeon as soon as possible if you notice these things. 

For more information about complications of breast augmentation, talk to surgeons at facilities like Renaissance Center For Facial & Body Sculpting.