Capsular contracture is a condition in which the capsule surrounding a breast implant displays an exaggerated healing response and begins to tighten, contract and harden. The typical symptoms of capsular contracture include pain, tenderness, a sensation of tightness, a change in the shape of the breast or a new change in the position of the implant. The causes of breast capsule contracture are unknown. However, there are several conditions that are thought to increase a patient’s risk of developing it. These risks include:
2) Trauma to the breast
3) Radiation injury
4) Breast implant pocket hematoma
5) Breast implant pocket seroma
6) Breast implant infection
7) Initial implant placement in the subglandular position.
Capsular contracture occurs across a spectrum of severity. Baker has classified the types of capsular contracture as follows:
Grade I: The breast is soft and appears natural.
Grade II: The breast feels slightly firm, but appears natural.
Grade III: The breast feels firm, and is starting to look abnormal or distorted.
Grade IV: The breast feels hard, is painful and appears distorted in shape.
There are non-operative ways to manage capsular contracture when it is diagnosed early. These include aggressive implant massage and occasionally the use of Accolate. For severe cases, the breast capsule needs to be removed surgically. It is extremely important for patients to contact their surgeon early, as soon as they develop any symptoms that may be consistent with the development of capsular contracture.