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Capsular Contracture

Capsular contracture what does it mean?

To ensure that foreign materials inserted into the body do not constitute a danger, the body usually develops a lining in its wall. The lining looks like a scar tissue, and it is known as the breast capsule. It can be manifested in other types of implants like the joint replacements, and so on. When they are in the body, you can hardly take note of it, because it is always pliable and it looks very soft. Research has shown that about 4-6 percent of the patients that are inserted with such implants would develop thicker capsules. It is thicker because they are more than the normal size.

Moreover, modern implants have lower rate of such capsular contracture when compared to the older ones. Capsules can behave like a shrink wrap, and it can be constraining the breast implants. When it is like this, it is called capsular contracture, and it can cause such things as:

  • The implant firmness
  • Breast tenderness

When it becomes severeness, it can cause changes in the breasts shape.

When confronted with this type of problem, there are two different options that are available to you to treat this condition, and they include the following:

  • Breast capsulectomy
  • Breast capsulotomy

Breast capsulotomy is a procedure done with the aim of doing away with the capsules internally. Breast capsulectomy on the other hands is an operation which is aimed at removing those capsules.

If you visit your doctor he is going to advice you on the best procedure to choose, but that would depend on the type of capsules you are suffering from. When you undergo the polyurethane coated breast implants, you are better off because you would rarely suffer from capsular contracture.

The symptoms after undergoing breast implants or augmentation

Before the procedure is done it is important that you examine your breast by visiting your surgeon.

There are at least four grades of implant contracture, and many patients pass through the symptoms associated with the four. Here are the symptoms:

The symptoms would always start off with the soft breast. This is also known as thin capsule. When this is present, it would gradually mature into a firm breast, and it is going to have the normal appearance. It is in grade two. It will continue to grow and more contracture would make the breast become firmer. One characteristic of the stage is that there is a distortion or what is known as the implant displacement. This is known as the third stage. It will reach to the fourth and final stage. At this last stage of the contracture, you are going to observe that it is very painful. It would also be characterised by the appearance of the abnormal and hard. This final stage is known as the grade four. If you are fortunate enough not to suffer from further distortion and that you no longer experience pain then, there is no need for surgical care.

However, it appears that both the second and fourth grades do not occur most of the times. Even if it occurs, patients can get remedy through surgical care. When it is completed, your doctor must examine the work and has to answer all your fears and concerns. If it is possible the doctor should show cause to see you in next ten years or thereabout.

How the doctor could determine the symptom

The doctor can actually tell from the feeling of the breast. A breast that looks firmer than what it usual is an indication that there is capsular contracture.

In some patients the spaces can be smaller and this means that it is contracting, and it could eventually compress that implants. The smallest shape that it can take is called the sphere and this can reshape the breast. Usually when the procedure is completed, the softness of the breast can be graded from one to four.

  • When it is in grade one, it means that it is natural in terms of the softness
  • When it is two, it is means that it is firmer than what it should be, however it can be managed
  • When it is three, it means that it is firm and that it could suffer from distorted appearance
  • When it is four it means that it is very firm and much distorted in terms of the appearance, and it would be painful.

However, you have to rely on the board certified plastic surgeon who would determine the actual situation whether you are suffering from it or not. He does so by checking and palpating the breasts.

If actually there is capsular contraction, then there is the need to address the problem. If the implants have lasted for about ten years, then it would require surgery for it to be corrected. When it is corrected, it should look natural and soft again.

What are involved in both breast capsulectomy and breast capsulotomy?

When the surgery is to be done, the doctor usually traces it through the existing scar. This is good because, you are not going to suffer from more scaring because of the correction. Usually it is done in the breast area and it could be a crease under your breast. Expect that it could be somewhere around your armpit. When the procedure is done, it would involve the releasing of the breast capsule that surrounds the breast implants.

The doctor would replace the old breast implant with another one. When you want to undergo breast capsulectomy for instance, it could be completed within the first two to three hours. It is better to perform it in the night hours and it is done under general anaesthesia. It is recommended that you stay at least a night under your doctor’s watch. It can take about one to two weeks for the patients to go back to their usual activities.


A day after the procedure was done; you can perform some minor activities. You have to wait for at least one month before you can resume with strenuous activities again.

Side effects

There are some side effects and one of them is the fear that the capsules could come back. This is possible for those patients who already have developed capsules within their breast area. However, you can reduce it through the following methods:

By removing the capsule completely that is total capsulectomy.

Secondly, consider replacing that existing breast implants with breast implants coated with polyurethane.

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