A breast is supposed to be soft, flexible and with a natural shape regardless if it’s natural or reconstructed. In case of surgically created breasts which are called the breast implant, there are some complications that can develop and one common complication is capsular contracture.
Basically when a breast implant is done, the body reacts by making a protective lining around it. This is known as “capsule” or as “tissue capsule”. It is also referred as the “scar capsule” though it is not exactly same as the scar tissue. This capsule is made up by your own living tissue. It is quite normal and it does happen to everyone no matter how the breast implant is- saline, textured, and smooth or silicone. In certain cases is found that the capsule develops a tendency to shrink and thus squeezing the implant. This condition is known as capsular contracture. Tighter the capsule, firmer the breast will be.
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Capsular Contracture- in depth
Our body is smart in a way. It knows when a foreign body is put inside the tissue. When it detects a foreign object, like the breast implant in this case, the body forms a periprosthetic capsule around it. In this case the chest muscles as well as the skin do not readily accept the implant as a natural part of the breast. Therefore in order to isolate the implant, the body develops a capsule around it to prohibit it from spreading, growing or shifting around. The capsule around the breast is formed naturally however if it contracts or thickens then it might squeeze your implant. This will cause pain, hardening as well as distortion of the breast.
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Symptoms associated with capsular contracture shows up slowly and are first noticed as a high-riding or misshapen breast.
Capsular contracture is graded as per the Baker scale and is based on the following criteria:
- Grade I: Here the breast appears soft as well as normal and the capsule is flexible as well.
- Grade II: The breast looks normal however it is hard to touch.
- Grade III: The breast is hard and will have certain distortion that is caused by contracture. The breast would be round in shape or the implant will be tilted towards up generally.
- Grade IV: Here the condition is similar to grade III however it will have greater hardening of the capsule.
Treatment of Capsular Contracture:
There are just a few non-surgical treatments for capsular contracture. The best treatment that ensures permanent cure is however surgical removal of the scar tissue (capsulectomy) as well as placement of a new implant. The implant can also be considered to be moved into a new plane. If the capsular contracture is moderate or severe then you may choose to go for this operation.
Other treatments are:
- Using sound waves to soften the breast
- Oral vitamin E
- Anti-inflammatory leukotrienes like Accolate or Singulair.
For healthy recovery do the following things:
- Quit smoking before surgery and continue until you recover completely
- Avoid physical activities
People who might face the risk of developing Capsular Contracture:
The condition occurs in 5 percent of women who undergo breast augmentation procedure. The factors that increase the chances of developing capsular contracture are:
- Severe breast trauma
- Postsurgical complications such as seroma, hematoma, and bacterial infection
- Radiation therapy
- Silicone molecules which leach into the pocket holding the implant
- Inadequate skin coverage in other words, due to the use of a large implant for the amount of skin coverage.
Prevention of capsular contracture:
- To prevent capsular contracture, meticulous sterile technique should be implemented during surgery and implant displacement exercises has to be done post-surgery.
- Displacement exercises are believed to stretch the surrounding scar tissue and thus decreasing the rate of capsular contracture. Therefore do not start it until your surgeon advises you to do so.
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