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While breast augmentation is incredibly safe and effective, complications can occur during or after any surgical procedure. This is largely due to the fact that every patient's body is unique and responds differently to treatments. The connective tissue found in the human body varies significantly from individual to individual, meaning that everyone goes through a highly unique healing process. 

When breast implants are inserted into a patient’s chest, a fibrous capsule naturally forms around it in order to keep it protected. This capsule serves as a containment unit, holding the implant firmly in place to ensure that nothing happens to it. While this process is a totally normal and vital aspect of every breast implant procedure, it can lead to major complications, such as capsular contracture. 

Dr. Lampert and his team have years of experience in treating capsular contracture and helping patients live happier and more comfortably. 

What is Capsular Contracture?

The formation of a "capsule" of scar tissue around any foreign object (medical or cosmetic) in the body is a standard part of the body’s healing process. The body naturally tries to isolate and protect any object that enters the body by creating an amalgam of scar tissue around it. With breast implants, this process is vital, as the capsule ensures that the breast implants are kept in place and don’t slip. 

In some cases, however, this natural capsule made of scar tissue can become excessively hard and start to contract around the implant, causing the patient a great deal of pain. Beyond the immense pain, it can also be considered a cosmetic issue, as it can affect the appearance of the breasts. Research data indicates that approximately one out of every six patients who undergo breast augmentation will experience some amount of capsular contracture. That said, not all will display noticeable symptoms. 

In most cases, capsular contracture develops during the healing process following a breast procedure. Around 75% of all cases of capsular contracture happen within the first two years after undergoing a breast procedure. In some cases, however, the condition can develop several years after the patient has undergone their breast treatment. This is most often the result of a ruptured implant. 

What Causes Capsular Contracture?

While there are currently various theories circulating regarding what causes capsular contracture, the overall consensus is that the cause can vary for every patient. 

Many researchers believe that a patient’s genetics are largely at play in the incidence of capsular contraction. Those who have a family history of autoimmune diseases or thick scar development following injuries may be genetically predisposed to experience capsular contracture following a breast augmentation procedure. That said, there is no exact formula to predict who will and who will not develop the condition based on one’s genetics alone. 

In some cases, capsular contracture is caused by factors other than the patient's body and the way it reacts to implants. In some cases, a substance known as “biofilm” is what is to blame for the development of capsular contracture. Biofilm is a thin layer of bacteria that can proliferate around an implant if a certain type of bacteria is present when the implant is inserted. While this bacterium is responsible for a serious infection, it seldom produces any noticeable symptoms, such as a fever or nausea. As such, it can be difficult to detect until fibrous scar tissue is produced, eventually leading to the condition known as capsular contracture. 

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How to Lower the Risk of Developing Capsular Contracture

There are various steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing capsular contracture. Some of these include:

  • Careful patient screening 
  • Using an implant size that is appropriate for the patient
  • Minimal handling of implants prior to insertion 
  • Utilizing textured gel implants
  • Taking the ‘under the muscle’ placement approach
  • Performing massages during the healing phase

How is Capsular Contracture Treated?

Breast explantation involves the complete removal of breast implants through an en bloc procedure and total capsulectomy to prevent any contamination in the body. This procedure will alleviate all the symptoms associated with capsular contracture, enabling patients to feel comfortable and carefree again. 

The explant procedure involves making an incision in the breasts and removing the implant and capsule from the breast pockets. The incisions are then closed, and the patient goes through a recovery process while they heal. 

Why Choose Dr. Lampert?

At Lampert MD Plastic Surgery, Dr. Joshua Lampert, MD, and his team of highly skilled practitioners are dedicated to helping their patients reach their aesthetic goals and live more comfortable lives. He has served countless patients in the greater Miami area and beyond, enabling them to experience greater self-confidence and fulfillment. An alumnus of several respected medical institutions, including The Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Lampert utilizes his acute expertise to curate personalized treatment plans that help patients get to where they want to be. 

Patients who are struggling with pain in the breasts caused by capsular contracture can depend on our team to relieve the issue at the source and provide them with a better quality of life. Reach out to us to schedule a private consultation and learn more about our breast explant treatments. 

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