During the healing process after breast augmentation surgery, a normal and beneficial part of the recovery includes the development of scar tissue that forms around the implant. The benefits to this are the scar tissue helps to hold the implant in place, and it helps prevent lateral displacement: implants that settle too far apart from the middle of the chest. However, the scar tissue in a very small percentage of patients can develop into what is known as capsular contracture. Chicago’s Dr. John Q. Cook explains that capsular contracture occurs when the naturally occurring scar tissue—the capsule—that forms around the implant during the healing process becomes abnormally hard and contracts around the implant, resulting in undesirable aesthetic results.
Before and after revisional breast surgery by Dr. John Q. Cook for a patient who developed capsular contracture after breast augmentation surgery performed by another plastic surgeon.
Why does this happen? Everyone’s physiology is unique, and so is the composition of the connective tissue that forms the scar. In other words, each body heals differently.
The clear cause of capsular contracture is unknown, but some researchers think there may be a link to genetics. It’s important to know that this condition is in no way caused by breast implants being unsafe and is no reflection of the skill-level of the surgeon.
The majority of patients who develop capsular contracture will usually notice it within the first two years of the implant placement.
There are degrees of capsular contracture. It can be so mild that it has no bearing to the shape, size, and feel of the breast. More severe conditions result in a misshapen breast that feels hard to the touch and may cause soreness.
Treatment to reverse capsular contracture is revisional breast surgery, which involves the removal and replacement of the existing implants. Patients can consult with their plastic surgeon if they would like to opt out of implant replacement.
Thorough patient screening is an important step in assessing potential health risks for any patient who is considering plastic surgery. At the Whole Beauty® Institute, we take this step very seriously and work very closely with each patient to deliver a healthy and desirable outcome.
The team at the Whole Beauty® Institute can provide more information about breast revision to address complications related to breast implants. Call us at 312-751-2112 (Chicago Gold Coast Office), 847-446-7562 (North Shore (Winnetka) Office), or submit a contact form to request a consultation.