Breast Augmentation and Capsular Contracture
One of the side effects that can occur from having breast implants is a “capsular contracture.” When an implant (or any foreign device for that matter) is inserted in the body, a tissue lining is formed. This lining is commonly known as a “capsule” or “tissue capsule” or “scar capsule, “ although it is not the same thing as scar tissue. It’s your body’s natural response to a foreign object.
Capsular contracture is most common in the first several months after surgery but can happen any time. When the surgery is first done, a pocket is made for the implant, and during the healing process after the surgery, the fibrous tissue forms the capsule. Your body is genetically programmed to shrink this scar tissue somewhat, and in normal cases, the pocket stays open allowing the implant to look and feel natural.
In some cases, the capsule will tighten and squeeze the implant, making it feels hard and distorting the appearance. Later on, the implant can feel very firm and have a ball-like look.
Reasons for capsular contracture are pretty unclear. It could be caused by germ contamination or long-term contamination of the implant shell that could lead to shrinking of the capsule. Also, implants above the muscle, known as subglandular placement, have a higher rate of capsular contracture than implants that are behind the muscle. Contractures are also likely following an infection, or if you have had seroma or a hemotaoma. Hematomas can cause an inflammatory reaction which can lead to this condition. Finally, smoking is known to increase the risk of capsular contracture. Smoking decreases the oxygen levels in the blood, which can delay health and possibly cause an inflammatory reaction.
- Baker Grading System – 4 Grades of Capsular Contracture
- Baker Grade 1 – The breast is normally soft, and looks natural. (Basically, we all have this, since we all have a “capsule”.) It is only when the capsule starts shrinking/contracting that capsule contracture occurs.
- Baker Grade II – The breast is a little firm, but appears natural.
- Baker Grade III – The breast is firm, and is beginning to appear distorted in shape.
- Baker Grade IV – The breast is hard, and has become quite distorted in shape. Pain/discomfort may be associated with this level of capsule contracture.
Some surgeons recommend massage after surgery to greatly reduce the risk of capsular contraction. Check the blog tomorrow for proper massage technique following a breast augmentation.
Posh Spice may have had a capsular contraction, which looks as though it has since been replaced.