Prevention is better than cure right?
As the number one breast implant complication, capsular contracture (CC) is something you should be aware of as you start your Boobie Journey.
If, like me, you want to know what you can do to have a smooth breast augmentation and recovery you may want to read up a bit more on capsular contracture.
Here's my look at it...
Capsular Contracture 101
Let’s get one thing straight... scarring after a breast augmentation is normal. In fact, your body will naturally create a wall of scar tissue around your implants.
What’s not normal is THICK scarring. It gets quite tricky here, because we don’t know exactly what causes thicker scarring. We do know that it’s a wrong immune response from your body.
So capsular contracture is a complicated complication!
After the early recovery period if the scar tissue around the implant thickens too much it will squeeze the implant.
This squeezing (or tightening) of the scar tissue causes the breasts to look or feel different (the first sign of CC is increasing firmness) and can cause pain or discomfort in the breasts.
Can It Be Prevented?
So, I’ve already said that we don’t know exactly what causes CC to occur. But, certain things are linked to CC. The top three things increasing the risk are:
- too much blood or fluid around the implant after breast surgery
- bacteria inside the breast after surgery (like an infection)
- a ruptured implant
Rest assured your plastic surgeon will do everything they can to prevent it occurring. For example, they’ll minimize the risk from bacteria by:
- giving intravenous antibiotics during your breast surgery
- washing the surgical area with antibiotic solution
- prescribing a course of antibiotics post-surgery
Other things (if you do Google it you’ll find there’s all sorts of suggestions) that are linked to lower chances of CC include:
- breast massage – believed to keep the implant mobile in the breast pocket and prevent the scar tissue from clamping down on your implant (please check with your plastic surgeon before doing any kind of breast massage as some surgeons do not recommend it)
- taking vitamin E tablets – believed to have softening effects on body tissue
- having a crease (underboob) incision – there is less bacteria on the skin in this area of your body
- placing implants under the muscle – an implant under the muscle is linked to less internal scarring
- using a special material (called an acellular dermal matrix graft) inside the breast to create an ‘internal bra’ - this supports the implant and covers the parts on the side and bottom where the muscle doesn't reach
- using a ‘no touch’ surgical technique – some plastic surgeons swear by the Keller funnel. It can only be used with silicone implants but ensures there is less chance of contamination since the implant isn’t touched as it enters your body
What Can You Do To Prevent Capsular Contracture?
By following your plastic surgeons instructions you’ll be doing everything you can to reduce your changes of developing capsular contracture. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you won't develop capsular contracture.
No matter what you do the risk is still there.
There's a lot to it, right?!
After what probably feels like a lot of scary information let me reassure you... the chances of capsular contracture occurring is between 1.5-10%, depending on the details of your breast augmentation.
Because implants are getting better and better, thankfully it is a much less common occurrence than it used to be.
Find out what your plastic surgeon does before, during and after surgery to reduce the chances of capsular contracture. But know, that no matter what is done during breast surgery, this is a biological process and no one can ever predict the outcome or necessarily prevent capsular contracture.
Perhaps when we know a bit more about what actually causes capsular contracture we’ll be able to aim for surgeries that totally prevent capsular contracture. There are research studies underway so the answers are definitely in our future!