Capsular Contracture: What You Should Know

Capsular contracture occurs when the body forms a layer of scar tissue around the breast implants, causing discomfort and changing the feel and shape of the breasts. At our Kansas City, MO-area practice, Dr. Madhukar G. Chhatre can correct capsular contracture through breast revision surgery, in which he will remove part or all of the scar tissue and replace the old implants with new implants.

A woman experiencing breast pain.

What Causes Capsular Contracture?

After breast implant placement, it is normal for scar tissue to form around it. This is because the body treats it as a foreign object. Generally, this is not a cause for concern. However, if the capsule thickens or tightens around the implant, it can result in discomfort, hardening, or distortion.

The primary cause of capsular contracture remains unknown. However, there are a few factors that can increase your risk for the condition. These include:

  • Excessive smoking and tobacco use
  • Subglandular breast implant placement
  • Bacterial infection during breast augmentation surgery

The treatment recommended for capsular contracture depends on the severity of your condition.

Common Symptoms of Capsular Contracture

While exact symptoms can vary, there are several warning signs that can indicate capsular contracture. These include:

  • Tightness in the breasts
  • Deformed breasts
  • Breasts that are hard to the touch

Capsular contracture is measured on a four-point Baker scale. To determine the most appropriate treatment, Dr. Chhatre will categorize your condition into one of the following classifications:

  • Grade I: The breast is normal in shape and size and soft to the touch.
  • Grade II: The breast appears normal but feels slightly firm.
  • Grade III: The breast is firm and appears irregular.
  • Grade IV: The breast feels hard, appears abnormal, and is painful to the touch.

Treating Capsular Contracture

The treatment recommended for capsular contracture depends on the severity of your condition. For example, treatment may not be necessary for those with Grade I or Grade II, whereas Grade III or IV issues will almost always require surgical intervention. Before recommending treatment, Dr. Chhatre will perform a comprehensive assessment and discuss your cosmetic goals with you in detail. At Summit Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, capsular contracture treatment options include:

  • Medication: For minor cases of capsular contracture, Dr. Chhatre may suggest a regimen of medications and Vitamin E supplements. If infection is the cause of the condition, antibiotics may be useful. While medications are the most conservative option for treating capsular contracture, they are rarely successful long-term.
  • Capsulotomy: During this surgical process, Dr. Chhatre removes the scar tissue around the implants. This effectively releases tension, helping to alleviate discomfort, soften the breast, and restore its normal shape.
  • Capsulectomy: To perform this treatment, Dr. Chhatre removes the breast implants and eliminates the scar tissue around them. Next, the breast pocket is thoroughly cleaned to reduce the risk for contamination. Finally, new implants are placed and the incisions are closed. Capsulectomy is the most common treatment for capsular contracture and is the most predictable long-term option.

Contact Summit Plastic Surgery & Med Spa

If you are experiencing hard, painful, or disfigured breasts, capsular contracture could be the cause. To learn more about the condition and your treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chhatre. Call our office at (816) 347-0026 or contact us online today.