Breast implant surgery is just like many other surgeries out there with risks. When going for surgery your doctor would tell you the risks involved in that surgery. For some, there are very few risks involved. While for some there are many risks involved. When it comes to breast implant surgery there are quite a few risks involved. And one of the risks is the formation of breast implant scar tissue. It’s also known as capsular contracture. This is a common complication that comes with a breast implant. So we’ll be having a look at the signs of capsular contracture and also the causes.
After a breast implant is done, fibrous scar tissue begins to form. And when it begins to form it forms a tissue capsule. The thing is when the body recognizes a foreign body it forms a protective capsule around the object. The capsule could be soft or a bit firm. It is usually not that noticeable. And its job is to put the implant in its right place. There are times that the capsule becomes hard and dense. When this happens the capsule begins to squeeze the implant. And this is what you call a capsular contracture. In the end, it causes pain and also distortion in the breast. Are there ways to treat this condition? Well, you’ll find out as you keep reading.
Capsular Contracture Grading System
The severity of capsular contracture is determined using this grading system:
- Grade 1: This grade is the asymptomatic level. It means that at this level, there are no signs and symptoms. Even though there is the formation of scar tissue it doesn’t affect the breast. The size, texture, and shape of the breast aren’t affected. The breasts would remain soft and look natural.
- Grade 2: In this grade, there are only minor symptoms. The breasts would still look normal. But when you touch it, it would feel firm.
- Grade 3: Here the cosmetic symptoms are quite glaring. The breast would not look normal and it would be also very firm to touch. It would look overly round and the nipples would not be in shape. The only thing is that in this grade there isn’t much pain.
- Grade 4: This is quite similar to grade 3. The breasts don’t look normal and it’s also quite hard to touch. The only thing is that grade 4 comes with breast soreness. The breasts would be tender and also very painful when touched.
Capsular contracture is known to happen during the healing process. About 75% of the cases of capsular contracture occurs within 2 years after the implant. And for some, it would occur after so many years of the surgery. But this happens to be an exception. If you have capsular contracture after so many years, it could be as a result of a rupture. So have the implant checked for rupture.
Causes and Symptoms of Capsular Contracture
There are so many theories and assumptions as to the cause of capsular contracture. It is actually believed that the cause varies from person to person. One thing though that you must bear in mind is that this does not occur because breast implants are bad or dangerous. Capsular contracture can happen after any kind of implant.
This is not usually as dangerous as to the health of the patient. But it can be a cause of concern if it’s as a result of ruptured implants. That’s because a rupture can lead to an infection in the body.
Also, researchers have come up with the idea that it has something to do with genetics. It is believed that a person with relatives that develop thick scar easily or have a history of autoimmune diseases are at high risk.
It is also believed that having certain complications such as seromas and hematomas increases a person’s risk. That’s because it is believed that blood clots provide nutrients for bacteria. And this encourages biofilm to grow.
The signs that come with this condition include the firmness of the breast. And this can be quite visible from the first few months after the implant. Or it could also be as late as years later.
Treatment of Breast Implant Scar Tissue
Certain surgical options can be used for treating capsular contracture. And they include:
- Capsulectomy: Here, the surgeon would remove the implant. At the same time, the surrounding tissue in the existing implant would be removed. After that, the surgeon would place a new implant there. And then wrap it with a dermal matrix. This material serves as the protective covering. And it is around it that the new scar tissue would form.
- Open capsulotomy: In this procedure, the surgeon would try to cut the tissue capsule open. And then make small incisions. The surgeon might also try to remove part of the tissue capsule. The main goal of the surgeon in this procedure is for the capsule to open. Some surgeons would also replace the implant with a new one.
- Autologous reconstruction: Here the surgeon would first remove the implant. And then reconstruct the breast. In reconstructing the breast a flap of tissue is used. So tissue from another part of the body is used as a replacement for tissue in the breast. The good thing about this option is that it removes the risk of recurrence. That’s because a tissue capsule would not usually form around the flap. The thing though is that it’s a complex surgery. And at the same time, the recovery time is a lot longer than the other options.
You must talk with your surgeon about the risks of each surgery. Each of these options has benefits and risks. And some are highly preferred to others. So the best thing to do is to seek the advice of your doctor. Depending on the severity and urgency your surgeon would be able to give you the best option you should opt for. But all in all the ball remains in your court when it comes to choosing a treatment method for breast implant scar tissue.