Capsular Contracture and Ruptured Implants
Capsular contracture is the term used to describe clinically significant scar tissue that forms around breast implants. Capsule formation is a normal phenomenon whereby one’s body recognizes the implant as a foreign object and in essence, tries to form a thin protective layer around it. This is often referred to as a (clinically significant) capsular contracturel.
The change may be in the form of a breast that changes shape, becomes firmer, or causes some discomfort. Patients who experience this may want to be examined in order to rule out some potentially problematic situations.
The percentage of women, 10 – 15 percent, who experience capsular contracture is quiet low. And while there is no known way to guarantee that a woman won’t develop one, Dr. Tepper can discuss with you some of the factors that may reduce your chances.
About Capsular Contracture and Ruptured Implants
The percentage of women who experience capsular contracture is quiet low. The incidence of ruptured implants is even lower. And while there is no known way to guarantee that a woman won’t develop one or both of these, there are some things that you can do as part of your breast health and self-assessment.
Have you experienced any of the following signs?
- Your breasts have become more firm overtime
- The shape of one or both breasts has changed, maybe appearing rounder or higher up on the chest
- One or both breasts have developed tenderness or even pain
If you are aware of any of these findings, or have other concerns, Dr. Tepper can discuss these during your consultation.
A capsular contracture can cause an undesirable change in the look, feel or position of the implant as a result of capsule formation. It remains unclear why one woman will form a capsular contracture and another will not, or why one breast may develop one while the other remains completely soft and natural.
Capsular contractures are often graded on a scale of I to IV (Baker scale)
- Grade I: The breast is looks and feels normal.
- Grade II: The breast looks normal but the feel has changed slightly.
- Grade III: The breast feels firm, and the shape has begun to change to a more-rounded appearance.
- Grade IV: Similar to grade III but with some pain or discomfort.
The treatment for capsular contracture may depend on the physical exam findings, the implant that was used, the location of the implant, and whether the procedure was performed for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons.
If you notice that one or both of your breasts are not as soft as they once were, or are changing, a consultation may be a wise choice. Dr. Richard Tepper will examine you and determine if indeed you have a capsular contracture and what the treatment options are. He can also help assess if an implant has ruptured. If you have gel implants that have ruptured, surgery is recommended to remove the damaged implant and gel material, and probably part or all of the surrounding capsule.
Surgery for this may be easier than your original surgery or may be more involved. Interestingly, patients describe less discomfort so long as there is no additional surgery to affect the chest muscle. Dr. Tepper will gladly discuss your individual plan during your consultation.
Many women achieve good success after surgery for capsular contracture and are pleased with the outcome. However, there always remains a chance that another capsule will develop.