Understanding Capsular Contraction - What is it? What to Look For and When to Get Help

Complications with plastic surgery are rare but it’s important to be aware of what could go wrong before you decide to go ahead with breast implants.

At your initial consultation, we’ll talk you through all aspects of your surgery so you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.  As we said, complications are rare, but they are possible, so it’s important to properly consider the issue from all angles. 

Being aware of the potential complications means you know what to look for when you return home.  You will, of course, be invited to post-surgery check-ups, but you can contact us at any time if you notice anything unusual or have any concerns.

With breast implants, one of the main concerns is what is known as ‘capsular contracture’.  This occurs when the very thin layer of scar tissue that forms naturally around the breast implant starts to thicken, causing firmness and distortion of the implant. Capsular contracture can happen quite early on in unusual cases though is more common when the implants have been in place for a few years. 

Why does capsular contracture occur?
The reasons for capsular contracture are multiple but one of the most common current theories is what is known as a ‘biofilm’.  This is a very low-grade colonisation of the implant surface with bacteria, which forms a layer around the implant and is believed to cause irritation/inflammation. 

What are the signs of capsular contracture?
The first signs of capsular contracture are usually a feeling of tightness and hardness, along with an unnatural-looking change to the shape of your breasts.
You may be experiencing capsular contracture if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Your breasts seem to sit higher on the chest than they used to
  • They appear misshapen
  • They feel tight
  • The tissue feels rippled
  • You feel pain or discomfort
What is the treatment for capsular contracture?
It’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect capsular contracture.  If you had your original surgery with us, our door is always open for you to come back regarding any concerns.

If you didn’t have your original surgery with us, we can help you.  Breast surgery is a speciality for us and our team have many years of experience in undertaking breast enlargement, breast lift and breast implant removal treatments. 

Without treatment there can be continuous tightening of the scar tissue which can put undue pressure on the implant, increasing the risk of rupture. In the unlikely event you experience capsular contracture, there are two options.  We can undertake further surgery to break up the scar tissue though it’s important to be aware this does not prevent the problem from recurring. It may be considered if your symptoms are mild to moderate.

Another option is to have your breast implants removed.  This, of course, alleviates the problem entirely, though does mean you no longer have your implants, so you’ll need to give yourself time to adjust to your new shape.

What to do next
If you would like to find out more about breast implants and whether they’re a good option for you, book an initial consultation with us.  We’ll provide the tailored advice and guidance you need to make the right decision about whether surgery is a good option for you. 

If you would like to learn more about this procedure or are interested in a consultation, fill out the form below or call us on 0161 523 8261