If you’ve spent any time exploring your breast augmentation options, you may have come across the term capsular contracture. This is a post-surgical complication that occurs in a small percentage of women that have breast implants. Dr. Abhay Gupta, an experienced breast augmentation surgeon in San Diego, wants to set the record straight on capsular contracture and explain what you should know about it, and how you can reduce your risk of developing it.
In the large majority of breast augmentation cases, the body forms a thin layer of scar tissue around the implant after it is placed. Normally, this scar tissue remains thin and flexible, and causes no problems.
However, about one out of every 10 women develop capsular contracture. Studies show that many of these cases occur when the surface of the breast implant becomes contaminated by bacteria. If the implant is exposed to bacteria during the operation, and clings to the surface of the implant, it forms a coating called biofilm and leads to an infection. This causes the breast to become very firm or painful, and the breast to change shape. A woman that has developed capsular contracture must have the implant removed (and replaced, if desired).
Much of the responsibility of preventing capsular contracture falls on your surgeon. It is critical to work with a board certified plastic surgeon that has placed hundreds (if not thousands) of breast implants and takes the proper precautions to prevent exposing the implants to bacteria.
In terms of what you can do to lower your risk of developing capsular contracture, you must follow all instructions given by your plastic surgeon. For example, breast augmentation patients are commonly prescribed antibiotics to prevent any infection; the medicine finds and kills bacteria that is present in the body, reducing the risk of bacteria sticking to the implant. You must take these medications as prescribed without missing a dose.
Some studies show that placing the implants through the areola increases the risk of capsular contracture because the nipple ducts harbor bacteria, and suggest the inframammary approach (placing the implants through an incision in the crease below the breast) may be safer. Dr. Gupta always uses the Keller Funnel to place his implants because it eliminates contact between the implant and the skin or nipple duct bacteria. This is something to discuss with your breast augmentation surgeon during consultation.
Also, you must follow your surgeon’s instructions about avoiding strenuous activity and exercise during your early recovery. Engaging in too much activity too soon after your surgery increases your risk of bleeding, which could lead to capsular contracture. If you have any questions about your post-operative instructions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surgeon to clarify.
To learn more about breast augmentation benefits and risks, please contact Gupta Plastic Surgery and request a consultation with Dr. Gupta. Call or email us today to make your appointment.
Fun Fact of the Month: Summer officially starts on Thursday, June 21. During the summer months, the Eiffel Tower in Paris grows more than six inches as the iron in the tower expands in the heat.