What are the Next Steps if Capsular Contracture Occurs from a Breast Implant?

The below question is answered by Charleston breast surgeon Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

What are the next steps if capsular contracture occurs from a breast implant?

The next step would depend on how severe the capsular contracture is.  All implants will develop a capsule and this may slowly lead to changes in the shape or in the most severe cases painful scarring and hardness.  When symptoms develop it may be necessary to surgically intervene.  The next step would depend on whether the patient has had radiation and the available options for reconstruction.  The first step and the least involved regarding surgery would be capsulotomy or release of the scar. Sometimes the healing process, whether there was an infection or a bruise around the breast, could have increased the risk for capsular contracture. Other times it may simply be the body’s reaction to an implant.  If after capsulotomy or capsulectomy the contracture has not resolved, the next step would be to consider moving additional healthy tissue to cover the implant or to remove the implant and replace it with your own tissue.  30% of our patients who choose to undergo autologeous reconstruction have had prior implant reconstruction and their bodies have developed severe capsular contracture.  If someone has had radiation, the capsular contracture will be more severe and most likely once problems develop the problems will continue.  Therefore, when multiple capsular contracture procedures have been necessary; our recommendation would be to consider removing the implant and replacing it with your own tissue using a muscle-sparing procedure.  Your own tissue would not develop capsular contracture and it is the most successful way to solve problems resulting from implant reconstruction.

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