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If you’ve had breast augmentation and you’ve noticed that your breasts are beginning to feel hard or uncomfortable, you may be experiencing capsular contracture. Dr. Sadrian is ready to help you and resolve this concerning situation quickly and effectively with capsular contracture treatment in San Diego at his private practice.


Table of Contents


What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture is a potential complication of breast augmentation which can occur at random. The capsule is the tissue your body naturally forms around any foreign object, such as a breast implant. Capsular contracture is the thickening or tightening of the capsule. The tissue, or capsule, becomes infected and begins to squeeze the implants and cause uncomfortable firmness and pain.

Woman wearing purple bra

Grades of capsular contracture

Capsular contracture has a grading system of I through IV. The first grade is a soft, normal capsule. The breast looks and feels natural, as it usually would. The fourth grade is the most severe, and presents as a hard, painful capsule. The breast is hard and painful and looks and feels abnormal.

  • Grade 1: Soft, natural-looking and feeling breast.
  • Grade 2: Slightly firm breast, but the appearance is still natural.
  • Grade 3: Firm, abnormal appearance and uncomfortable-feeling breast.
  • Grade 4: Hard, painful, abnormal-looking breast, including nipple irregularities.

Surgery is required to treat Grades 3 and 4.


Symptoms of capsular contracture

Unfortunately, for women who have to experience this concern, capsular contracture is painful. Besides pain and discomfort, there are a number of other symptoms that can help ascertain whether there is capsular contracture:

  • Uncomfortable breast firmness or tightness
  • A hard, and painful breast
  • A change in breast shape and/or position
  • A restricted range of motion
  • One breast is unusually round or ball-shaped
  • A breast is unusually high on the chest wall
  • The breast is misshapen

Diagnosing capsular contracture

Capsular contracture usually occurs within the first few months after breast augmentation. It can occur as soon as 4-6 weeks after surgery, but this complication is very uncommon once six months have passed after the initial breast augmentation surgery.

Dr. Sadrian will listen to your concerns, examine your breasts, and may perform other tests to properly diagnose a case of capsular contracture. Based on the symptoms, appearance of the breasts, and other factors, he will ascertain exactly what the situation is so that it can be properly addressed with custom capsular contracture treatment in San Diego at his private facilities.


Who is at risk of capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture can sometimes be genetic. Those with a family history of auto-immune disorders may have a greater risk of the potentiality of capsular contracture. At the same time, capsular contracture most often occurs by random chance. Unfortunately, there is no certain preventative against capsular contracture, but there are some ways to help reduce the potential of it happening. Here is some basic information to keep in mind regarding this:

  • Silicone implants have a higher risk of developing capsular contracture than saline implants.
  • Smooth-textured implants may have less of a chance of developing capsular contracture when compared with textured implants.
  • Implants inserted under the muscle tissue in the chest may be less likely to develop capsular contracture than implants inserted over the muscle tissue. The pectoral muscles massage the implants in the course of your normal movements, which helps the scar tissue to remain soft.
  • Placing a too-large implant in a patient who doesn’t have enough natural breast tissue to cover the size of the implants easily increases the risk of capsular contracture. If you have small breasts and would like to significantly increase your cup size, Dr. Sadrian recommends that you do so in stages, starting with a mid-size implant, then moving onto a larger one after a period of time has passed and the skin has stretched.
  • Gently massaging the breasts, following Dr. Sadrian’s instructions, may help keep the breast tissue pliable during the healing process and thus help to prevent capsular contracture.

Causes of capsular contracture

While it is not certain exactly what causes capsular contracture, it's likely that the exact causes of this condition vary from patient to patient. The following are likely causes of capsular contracture.

  • Bacterial infection

    A breast lift corrects drooping breasts that hang low on the chest wall due to age, genetics, pregnancy, weight loss, or other factors. A breast lift removes extra skin and lifts the breasts higher to achieve a lifted, symmetrical shape that achieves a youthful balance. The nipples are tilted upward evenly and placed higher to achieve and attractive, youthful-looking tilt.

  • Hematoma (blood accumulation) and seroma (fluid accumulation)

    A hematoma or seroma may provide nutrients for bacteria to feed on, which increases the chance of capsular contracture-causing biofilm growing and developing. Dr. Sandrian provides drains to help ensure that blood and fluid do not collect for those patients that require it.

  • Breast cancer treatment

    If breast cancer treatment is not fully complete, meaning that radiation treatments are not fully complete after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, and breast implants are inserted, this might increase of the risk of capsular contracture.

  • Genetic Predisposition

    Genetics can cause patients to be prone to developing thick scar tissue, and women who have a family history of autoimmune disease or scarring concerns may have a higher risk of developing capsular contracture.

  • Random chance

    From what physicians know, capsular contracture has no easily identifiable source. While the above causes are possible in different cases, they cannot be easily predicted. Ultimately, capsular contracture appears to come down to chance.

Treatment of capsular contracture

Once the signs of capsular contracture begin to appear, it’s important to contact Dr. Sadrian right away and have it treated properly and effectively with capsular contracture treatment. Your incisions will be made in the same spot as they were during your original implant surgery. Once the incisions are made, Dr. Sadrian may simply remove the capsule tissue, or he may remove both the capsule tissue and the implant.

Removal of a portion of scar tissue

If capsular contracture is caught early enough, it may be possible to remove a portion of the scar tissue only, rather than the implant itself. This procedure creates more space in the breast pocket and can be effective in correcting early capsular contracture.

Secondary breast augmentation with a capsulectomy

If capsular contracture is more advanced, the procedure required is a capsulectomy. A capsulectomy removes the entire breast implant and the surrounding capsule. Based on your aesthetic goals for your breasts, new implants may be inserted as a part of this procedure.


Recovery

After your capsular contracture surgery in our San Diego facility, you will need a family member or friend to drive you home and stay with you for the night. There will be pain and swelling, and you will wear a surgical bra to help reduce the swelling and support your breasts for a period of weeks.

In many cases, the recovery after a capsular contracture surgery is often easier than a first breast implant surgery. You should be able to return to work or your usual activities within a week or so, once you feel more comfortable. Although you may feel healed after a couple of weeks, your breasts will take a few months to settle into their new position and heal completely. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for six weeks.


Why Choose Dr. Sadrian for Capsular Contracture Treatment?

Dr. Sadrian is a board-certified plastic surgeon in San Diego, with extraordinary credentials and nearly two decades of experience. His artistic eye, advanced technical skills and outstanding results make him one of the most popular plastic surgeons in San Diego. Dr. Sadrian is dedicated to his patients, and ensures they are given all the time, care and attention they require. Dr. Sadrian’s experience, expertise and stunning outcomes are the reason so many women trust and count on him to help them achieve their aesthetic goals. Call for a consultation for capsular contracture treatment today.

Dr. Sadrian holding a breast implant

FAQs

When can I return to work after capsular contracture surgery?

Patients may return to work within one week if they are comfortable and feel they have healed enough.

How long will I wear a surgical bra?

You will wear a surgical bra for several days.

Do all capsular contracture corrective treatments require surgery?

If the capsular contracture is caught early and the case is mild, non-invasive ultrasound and massage therapy may help to alleviate pain and possibly reduce the risk or further development of capsular contracture.

How can I prepare for surgery?

Prior to your capsular contracture treatment procedure, ensure you follow any directions to prepare from Dr. Sadrian. Stop smoking or taking any vitamins that have any blood thinning properties.

Is it safe to replace my implants after capsular contracture?

Yes, it is generally considered safe to have new implants inserted after capsular contracture treatment. Dr. Sadrian does all he can to reduce capsular contracture risk, including using antibiotics in the breast implant pocket, special handling of the implants, and a no-touch technique on the skin.

What Is the likelihood of recurrence?

Capsular contracture is somewhat rate, but unfortunately recurrent contracture is high. A diligent, precise surgeon does everything they can to remove all signs of biofilm or bacteria. Choosing a highly skilled breast surgeon with experience in this treatment is highly essential to help reduce the risk.

Is capsular contracture seen in both breasts?

Capsular contracture can appear in both breasts, but most women experience capsular contracture in just one breast.

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