Treating Capsular Contracture following Breast Implant Surgery: Capsulectomy

Aug 23, 2011 by

If you suffer capsular contracture following breast implant surgery that is either a Baker Grade III or IV, likely you must have your implants removed. Remember capsular contracture is classified via the Baker system- a Baker Grade I or II should not cause any issues for you.

The USA FDA has accepted reports from two major implant manufacturers regarding smooth and textured implants, stating that capsular contracture affects between 8.1% of patients (Mentor study of 551 patients, followed for 3 years) and 15.5% of patients (Inamed study of 455 patients, followed for 7 years). With these high numbers, you should understand what a capsulectomy is.

A capsulectomy is the surgical removal of the capsule (-ectomy is greek in origin, meaning cutting out of) that surrounded the implant and was squeezing or distorting the implant. Why is a capsulectomy performed? To assist with preventing another capsular contracture in the future, assuming the implants removed will be replaced with new breast implants.

The capsular contracture is caused by the body reacting to the breast implant- forming scar tissue that, in some way, attacks the implant by contracting around the implant. The capsulectomy removes the entire capsule, including the scar tissue.

Once the capsule has been removed, new implants can be inserted and will only be in contact with “virgin” tissue. While this does not eliminate the possibility of a capsular contracture in the future, it eliminates the scar tissue from the prior capsule.

It seems leading doctors always perform a full capsulectomy following any issue with capsular contracture; I don’t have any data to confirm that statement, it is more of an observation. And it makes sense, if there was a complication (capsular contracture) best to start with virgin tissue.

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