One of the potential side effects of undergoing a breast procedure with implants is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture occurs when the protective capsule of scar tissue that naturally forms around a foreign object in the body tightens. The tightening of the scar tissue can cause frequent pain and change the shape of the breasts.
To treat capsular contracture, a breast implant capsulectomy can be performed. This is usually offered under breast implant revision surgery, in which complications of procedures that involve breast implants are addressed.
What causes capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture can be an inflammatory response, causing your body to produce excess collagen fibres, or it can be caused by a build-up of blood or fluid, biofilm caused by infection, or the rupture of an implant. Those who can be more prone to developing scar tissue may be more likely to experience capsular contracture.
The condition occurs in about 10% of patients who have undergone a breast procedure with implants, making it one of the most common complications of implant based breast surgeries. It can be helpful to familiarise yourself with the condition if you have undergone a breast augmentation procedure that involves implants, so that you know what surgical solutions are available.
Types of breast implant capsulectomy procedures
To suit the needs of each patient, there are a variety of options available when it comes to how a breast capsulectomy procedure is performed. The right type of procedure for each patient will depend on if the thickness of the capsule, and if the breast implant has been affected. It is common for capsulectomy procedures to involve removing or replacing the implant.
A total capsulectomy involves removing the whole protective capsule. This may be done piecemeal or as one complete resection. The breast implant can be removed before removing the capsule and replaced with a new implant after the capsule has been taken out. Patients with thicker, more diseased capsules will typically require this approach.
En bloc capsulectomy
An en bloc capsulectomy is designed to remove the protective capsule and breast implant in one piece. This can be the most efficient choice for patients who have implant rupture or more serious complications such as ALCL. The en bloc capsulectomy procedure is usually not suitable for those with thinner or softer capsules.
A subtotal capsulectomy, or partial capsulectomy, will only involve removing part of the protective capsule. It is generally known as the least invasive capsulectomy procedure, resulting in less scarring. This approach can be suitable for patients with thinner and softer capsules.
Capsulectomy procedures are performed under general anaesthetic and can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete. After the procedure, patients may be required to stay in hospital overnight to be monitored or may be able to return home to complete their recovery period. During recovery, patients will usually need to wear a dressing over their breasts incisions and will be instructed to keep the area clean to avoid infection and minimise the risk of highly visible scarring.
After a capsulectomy, it is normal for the breasts to feel sore or swollen. Draining tubes may be inserted to reduce swelling for about one week. Overall, the recovery period after a total capsulectomy, en bloc capsulectomy or subtotal capsulectomy can last for about two weeks, but it will depend on the complexity of the procedure and will vary for each patient.
How do I know when I need implant removal?
You may need your implants removed, and/or a capsulectomy if your breasts have become abnormal and unnatural in appearance and feel hard or painful.
A consultation with a qualified and experienced breast surgeon can help you top decide whether or not you will benefit from the procedure. Sometimes, you may be experiencing a side effect that can be addressed by less invasive methods as an alternative to surgery.
Your consultation with Specialist Breast and General Surgeon Dr Yunaev
As Principal Doctor at Breast & Body Clinic, Dr Yunaev is committed to providing a supportive, personalised approach to surgery. His extensive experience involves a deep understanding of breast surgery, for which he promoted improved training through his research.
Dr Yunaev’s mission is to use advanced technology to create the best results, using his thorough knowledge of aesthetic breast and body surgery to meet each client’s expectations as much as possible.
Breast implant capsulectomy procedures require a thorough level of understanding when it comes to the health of the breast and how to achieve ideal results. Dr Yunaev is passionate about treatment with breast cancer surgery, benign and congenital breast disease surgery and aesthetic breast and body surgery.
If you think you may need a breast implant capsulectomy, or would like to find out more about what the procedure involves, contact our friendly team today.