Can you explain what capsular contracture is and how it’s treated?
Any time any type of implant is placed in the body, a fibrous layer of connective tissue will develop and surround the implant. This is called a capsule. Particularly with breast implants, this layer of connective tissue may at any time shrink and tighten around the implant. This process of tightening is called capsular contracture. With mild forms of capsular contracture, the breast becomes somewhat more firm to the touch. With more severe forms, the implant may become distorted or displaced, which can alter the shape of the breast and result in asymmetry.
Once capsular contracture is recognized after breast implant surgery, it should be addressed immediately. There is a window of opportunity during which the process may be reversible. Early interventions include aggressive massage of the breast to stretch and soften the capsule as well as strapping the breast with the use of garments and tapes to displace the implant back to the desired position. Treatment with high energy external ultrasound devices may also help to soften the capsule and breast.
If these non-surgical interactions fail then surgical revision may be required. Surgery to treat capsular contracture may involve any of the following: excising part or all of the capsule; repositioning implants beneath the muscle or exchanging to textured surface implants to prevent recurrent contracture; and introducing steroids or other anti-inflammatory agents to the pocket to prevent recurrence.
Recent use of acellular dermal grafts to replace the excised capsule and to line the implant pocket has also proven to help correct capsular contracture and to decrease the risk of recurrence.