Breast augmentation is the most popular procedure at our plastic surgery practice in New Jersey, and we love seeing so many happy patients get the shapely curves they’ve always wanted.
Occasionally, however, patients who’ve had prior breast augmentation experience a condition called capsular contracture. If you suspect this has happened to you, we have good news. Capsular contracture can be successfully treated, both relieving your symptoms and restoring an aesthetically pleasing shape and appearance to your breasts.
What can cause capsular contracture?
As part of the normal breast augmentation healing process, your body will form a capsule, or tissue lining around the breast implants. Normally, this lining is flexible, soft and barely noticeable by touch or appearance. In a small percentage of patients, this capsule hardens and contracts around the implant—this is called “capsular contracture.” When this happens, the breast can look and feel unnaturally round and hard. In some cases, the condition can be painful.
Although capsular contracture is one of the more common complications following breast augmentation, it’s still pretty rare—in a recent study of about 2500 breast augmentation patients, only about 7.6% developed capsular contracture within 5 years following surgery.
Currently, there are two options for treating capsular contracture.
Can you treat capsular contracture without surgery?
Yes, the Aspen Ultrasound System is a unique non-invasive treatment that combines deep sound wave therapy (ultrasound) with targeted massage to help painlessly break up the excess scar tissue and release the capsule. For patients with mild to moderate cases of capsular contracture, this treatment can help relieve pain and hardness and help the breast implant assume a more natural position without having to undergo the expense, recovery time, and risks of a second surgery.
In our experience, about 80% of our patients experience noticeable improvements after Aspen Ultrasound System treatment. For patients who are deemed good candidates, we will typically recommend this non-invasive approach first.
Can capsular contracture be fixed with surgery?
For some patients, breast implant revision surgery will yield the best results. During a procedure to correct capsular contracture, a surgeon will take out the old breast implants, remove the hardened scar tissue, or “capsules,” and place new implants. As such, revision surgery is usually the better option for women who wish to change their implant size or type at the same time, as well as those who have more advanced cases of capsular contracture.
For patients who do require surgical intervention, the Aspen Ultrasound System can be used as a post-surgical therapy to reduce the recurrence of the capsular contracture.
If you suspect you have capsular contracture after breast augmentation, contact our Paramus, NJ, practice. This is not a condition you should live with, and Dr. Parker will help you understand your treatment options at your consultation.