This is a guest post from Dr. Roy Kim. A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA.
What is Capsular Contracture?
Capsular Contracture is a medical term for too much scar tissue formation around your breast implants. We are not talking about scar tissue you can see, like where the incisions were made.
Capsular contracture is from scar tissue that forms inside your body, making your breasts feel too firm (sometimes even ‘hard’) and keeping them in an unnaturally high position.
“Eek! What do I do about it?”
There are several that things that you CAN do, but part of this phenomenon is out of your control. Revision surgeries are available in the event of severe capsular contracture, but hey, let’s avoid it altogether if possible, shall we?
Before Breast Augmentation
Your specific decisions for breast augmentation can increase or decrease your risk of capsular contracture.
Choosing a textured implant, placed under the muscle, reduces your risk of capsular contracture. Of course, you sacrifice a certain ‘feel’, and face slightly higher odds of implant failure with these implants, so there is a trade-off. Talk to your doctor and decide what is best for you.
Choosing a breast fold incision or an underarm incision also reduces the risk of capsular contracture because your surgeon is avoiding the milk ducts. Those ducts carry bacteria which can get on the implant as it is being placed in your body.
No surgeon can completely eliminate all bacteria, but many of us can and do manage the risks while delivering amazing transformations for our patients. But, yeah, the bacteria is still a thing.
Whatever can lower the potential for bleeding BEFORE surgery will also reduce your risk of capsular contracture.
This is generally not a big concern in young healthy patients. However certain foods, supplements, anti-inflammatories (like aspirin or ibuprofen), and blood thinners increase your risk. Talk to your plastic surgeon about avoiding them before your breast augmentation surgery.
During Breast Augmentation Surgery
There is nothing you can do during the surgery, as you should be asleep while it’s going on. But here is where your surgeon can really shine. (Ahem: pick a good one.) Inquire about risk reducing techniques such as:
- CHG pre-surgical soap
- Pre- and post- surgery antibiotics
- Covering your nipple/areola with sterile tape
- Using a Keller funnel or other “no touch” technique to place the implant
After Breast Augmentation
After surgery, avoid infection by taking care of yourself. Pamper your incision and take antibiotics as directed. Your surgeon may recommend certain supplements, muscle relaxants and medication for pain.
I’m told that old movies and extra sleep don’t hurt either.
Breast implant massage is usually recommended after surgery to reduce swelling, reduce scar tissue formation, and keep the breast implant pocket soft.
Wearing a compression bra/garment around your upper chest and above your new breast implants, may or may not help with swelling, long-term placement of your implants, and capsular contracture.
Surgery, and really life, carries risk. Awareness, preparation and communication with your doctor can keep the risk as low as possible, so you can get out there and enjoy your new silhouette ASAP.