Capsular contracture can be a relatively common complication after placement of silicone breast implants or saline breast implants. Scar tissue normally forms around breast implants in all circumstances. In some cases, over time, it can tighten and compress the implant, making it feel firm and painful, causing what is called a capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is more common following infection, hematoma, or seroma, and the chance of it happening may increase over time. It occurs more commonly in revision breast augmentation than in primary breast augmentation.
Capsular contracture is also a risk factor for implant rupture, and is the most common reason for re-operation after breast implant placement. Symptoms of capsular contracture can range from just mild firmness and discomfort, to severe pain, distorted appearance of the breast, and the ability to feel the implant. It is classified into 4 levels, depending on its severity:
Baker Grade I: The breast is soft, and looks natural.
Baker Grade II: The breast is a little bit more firm, but looks normal.
Baker Grade III: The breast is firm and looks abnormal.
Baker Grade IV: The breast is hard, painful, and looks abnormal.
The data for both silicone and saline breast implants says that about 1 in 6 women will develop a severe capsular contracture, either grade III or IV, through 7 years after breast implant placement. For women receiving revision breast augmentation, this risk increased to about 1 in 5. When pain and firmness or abnormal appearance is particularly severe, additional surgery may be required. This usually requires removal of the breast implant capsule and replacement of the breast implant.
Should you be developing firmness, hardness, or distorted appearance after your breast implant placement, you may have a capsular contracture. To learn more about this condition, please contact Dr. Jejurikar at 214-827-2814, at the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute.