Breast augmentation cosmetic surgery involves insertion of saline or silicone implants in the breast tissue to enhance the size of breasts. However, sometimes a capsule formation may occur around the implants. These capsules can become thick and hard, causing the implants to squeeze and resulting in distorted breast appearance. Capsule formation may also lead to implant damage with the breast tissue.
This condition can be address with breast capsulectomy surgery. The procedure may be performed on one or both breasts, depending on the capsule position and the amount of irritation it may be causing. The procedure is also called full implant capsule removal. Dr. Paul Fortes is an experienced plastic surgeon providing breast capsulectomy surgery to patients in Katy, Houston, TX, and surrounding areas.
Causes of Capsule Formation
Following breast augmentation plastic surgery, the body’s natural immune response leads to the formation of a thick barrier of scar tissue, which is called a capsule. This capsule envelopes the implant. The thickness and size of the capsule can vary from one patient to another.
The capsule normally does not pose any problem, except in some cases, where it can become excessively tight or thick around the implant. The cosmetic surgeon will remove the capsule partially or entirely as a part of capsulectomy. The breast implant is then re-inserted into the breast pocket or replaced with a new one. Dr. Fortes receives patients from Katy, Houston, TX for capsulectomy.
Types of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture can be categorized into four types on the basis of a ‘Baker’ grading as follows:
- Grade 1 – the breast appears soft and natural looking
- Grade 1 – the breast appears normal but slightly firm
- Grade 3 – the breast looks abnormal and firm to touch
- Grade 4 – the breast is hard, rigid, and looks abnormal
Patients who experience any discomfort at any stage after breast implant surgery or a notice a change in the look and feel of the breast should immediately contact a breast capsulectomy surgeon.
Breast capsulectomy is performed as an open surgery, which means that the plastic surgeon will cut through the scar tissue. This will open up the capsule and remove the breast implant. This technique is preferred over the closed surgery procedure that would involve squeezing the implant to break open the scar tissue. Risk of implant damage is high in that old technique.
The surgeon may adopt total capsulectomy or sub-total capsulectomy technique. In the total capsulectomy approach, the complete capsule is removed and the breast implant replacement is performed. In the sub-total capsulectomy, the capsule is only partially removed, provided the implant has not shifted or broken. In any case, the breast implant gets removed in most situations. The entire procedure can be completed in about two to three hours.
Breast capsulectomy is typically a more complex procedure than primary breast augmentation. The recovery process will be similar or slightly longer for most patients. Initial pain can be managed with prescribed pain medications. The patient can expect to return to normal work in about 10 to 14 days.