Following breast augmentation or lift surgery, you should be able to move forward with your life feeling more confident and happier in your own skin. If you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or even visible distortion of one or both of your breasts, you should immediately reach out to a qualified medical professional.
Though uncommon, you may be suffering from capsular contracture. When this scar tissue forms around a breast implant, the breast can harden and feel noticeably different. At Plastic Surgery Affiliates, our talented breast surgeon, Dr. Olivia MaDan, is experienced in capsular contracture treatment in Nashville and could help rectify this rare complication.
What Is a Capsular Contracture?
A capsular contracture is a robust inflammatory response produced by your body, believed to occur from bacterial biofilm formation. This particular kind of capsule is different from the typical capsule formation occurring during the normal healing process following breast augmentation surgery.
The breast itself is not considered a sterile organ, and actually has bacteria in it. One of the most likely scenarios for capsular contracture to occur is when an implant is placed above the pectoralis muscle through an incision under the nipple (periareolar). There is less likelihood of bacterial contamination if the majority of the breast tissue is left undisturbed. Placement of the implant behind the pectoralis major muscle through an inframammary crease incision minimizes the implant’s contact with the breast tissue.
How Does Capsular Contracture Differ from Other Effects that Result from Breast Implants?
Forming a capsule following breast augmentation surgery is completely normal. The placement of any type of implant—knee replacement, hardware to fix a fracture, or a breast implant—will signal the body to create a capsule around the foreign object or the part that is unfamiliar.
Capsular contracture occurs when the capsule around a breast implant is overactive. There can be a large amount of inflammation caused by bacteria creating a tight, shrink-wrap-kind-of-feel around the implant itself. It can become hard and painful and have a visible difference compared to the unaffected side.
The Four Grades of Capsular Contracture
Most plastic surgeons use the Baker Classification for capsular contracture, which consists of four levels.
- Grade 1: The capsule is soft, which is normal.
- Grade 2: A patient can feel the implant and the capsule, or they can feel the implant but cannot see the capsule.
- Grade 3: There is a visible distortion or difference between the two breasts and a patient can feel the capsule. The patient may be able to move the implant or the capsule within the breast.
- Grade 4: A hard capsule has developed that has visible deformity. This is the most severe and painful level.
No matter the grade of your capsular contracture, Plastic Surgery Affiliates in Nashville offers a customized treatment plan for you.
How Do You Treat a Capsular Contracture?
Capsular contracture can be extremely difficult to treat. Oftentimes, non-surgical options are the best place to start. At Plastic Surgery Affiliates, Dr. MaDan’s capsular contracture protocol consists of taking Vitamin E, Singulair (montelukast), ibuprofen and massage. massaging the affected area, and taking ibuprofen twice a day for pain. The medication, Montelukast, is an antihistamine and can help modify the inflammatory reaction that is contributing to the capsular contracture.
Surgical intervention, such as a breast revision operation, may be considered if the patient has visible changes of the breast implants with or without pain. One of the best ways to treat capsular contracture is by changing the plane of the implant, meaning if the surgeon placed the implant above the muscle using an incision under the nipple, the best plan of action is to place the new implant behind the muscle and use an incision in the fold/crease. Additionally, there are off-label uses of soft tissue support mesh that may be helpful in the treatment of capsular contracture in Nashville.
Frequent Causes of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture is usually caused by bacterial contamination and biofilm formation around the implants. This can be caused by the method and plane of implant placement.
It can also be caused by a nidus for a low-grade infection, for example, bleeding within the breast pocket. Blood is an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Once bacteria have grown and are around the implant, it can create the biofilm formation and result in capsular contracture.
Other causes can be from infection or contamination of the field which can result in redness, drainage, pain, and swelling after the initial breast augmentation surgery.
Capsular Contracture Prevention Methods
There are a few ways to minimize the occurrence of capsular contracture. Though it cannot always be prevented, the most important thing is minimizing any contact with or any manipulation of the implant itself.
No matter where the implant is placed, it is important for a surgeon to use a no-touch technique. Sometimes, this involves the use of a Keller funnel, a cone-shaped bag used to deliver the implant into the pocket. Using clean gloves and minimal implant contact are some of the most important factors in decreasing the risk of capsular contracture.
Another factor that contributes to the occurrence of capsular contracture is where a surgeon places the implant and the type of incision made. There can be almost a twofold increased risk of capsular contracture when implant placement is above the muscle using a periareolar incision. This risk can be minimized by placing the implant behind the pectoralis muscle and using an incision in the crease.
Call Now for Capsular Contracture Treatment at Our Office in Nashville
If you believe you are suffering from capsular contracture, you should schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as possible. These complications can be extremely painful and will just persist, or get worse, the longer you wait.
Fortunately, at Plastic Surgery Affiliates, we offer both non-surgical and surgical capsular contracture treatment in Nashville in order to provide you with personalized care based on your unique situation. Additionally, when you choose us for your plastic surgery, Dr. Olivia MaDan, takes all the necessary steps to prevent such complications. Call today to speak with a caring member of our team.