No matter how great a plastic surgeon is, there is always the possibility that complications are going to appear after or even during the surgery. Every single body is different. Connective tissue composition varies from a patient to the next. Even the healing process stands out as being unique. Some people will develop really thick scar tissue, even if the skin injury is minor.
Fortunately, plastic surgery complications are nowadays much more common than they used to be. This is because doctors are a lot better at figuring out who is likely to face surgical complications and technology is much better. There are still some complications that need to be considered, including capsular contracture.
So, what is capsular contracture?
Basically, a scar tissue capsule is normally going to appear around the implant following the procedure. This is a normal part of healing. The body is reacting to the foreign object and tries to isolate it through the scar tissue barrier. Normally, when dealing with breast implants, this is quite a good thing since it allows the implant to stay in place. Slippage is prevented.
The problem is that in some of the patients the capsule becomes way too hard and starts to contract in the area around the breast implant. Due to this it is possible that aesthetic problems appear. Breast pain can also appear. According to statistics, 1 in 6 patients that went through breast augmentation experience capsular contracture to some degree.
Capsular contracture severity is nowadays rated based on a specific grading system:
- Grade 1– This is normally asymptomatic and scar tissue formation around implant will not interfere with breast texture, shape or size. Breasts end up remaining soft when touching and look highly natural.
- Grade 2– This includes some minor cosmetic symptoms. Breasts do appear normal when looking at shape but can feel firm when touched.
- Grade 3– In this case there are some obvious cosmetic symptoms that are noticed. Breasts are firm and will appear abnormal. For instance, the breast can be hard-looking and overly round, with nipples that are misshapen. Pain is at most minimum.
- Grade 4– This is similar to the grade 3 capsular contracture but breast soreness is also experienced. Breasts are often going to be painful and tender when touching.
Normally, the condition appears during healing. Around 75% of cases are going to appear in the first 2 years after the breast implant is placed. In some cases we see capsular contractures occurring even years after the surgery was done. However, this is just an exception. When this is the case, breast implants have to be checked because ruptures might be present. A ruptured implant is the most common cause of capsular contraction that is late-onset.
The bad news is that it is almost impossible to prevent the appearance of capsular contracture in every single patient. However, lowering risks is definitely possible. Plastic surgeons are employing various different preventative strategies and it is important to choose a surgeon that takes full advantage of this.