After breast augmentation, it is possible that some women will experience scar tissue or thickened and hardened areas in the breast. As a result, this could mean that you are recommended to undergo capsule removal.
What is Capsule Removal?
This procedure involves the removal of scar tissue or capsule that has become thickened and hardened around a breast implant. Made up of fibroblasts, collagen and blood vessels, the capsule is known as capsular contracture. This is caused when the immune system responds to the presence of a foreign object, which in this case will be the breast implant.
It is normal for a capsule to form, but when it becomes thick and contracts, it can squeeze the implant leading to pain and even distortion. Commonly, this will occur in those who are undergoing breast augmentation for the first time as well as those undergoing breast reconstruction following surgery for breast cancer as well as those who have already been treated for capsule contracture.
The Different Types of Capsular Contracture
Capsular contracture comes in different levels and these are measured using the Baker Classification Scale:
Baker Grade 1 – This is where a normal capsule forms around the breast after breast augmentation surgery and it keeps the breasts feeling soft as well as keeping the natural appearance.
Baker Grade 2 – A mildly firm capsule will be present yet the breasts will still have a natural appearance. So, the breasts might feel uncomfortable and hard to touch but they won’t look unusual.
Baker Grade 3 -The capsule is firm and it causes the breasts to appear distorted while the breasts are hard to touch. The breasts might look rounded and tilt upwards.
Baker Grade 4 – The breasts will be hard to touch and they will feel cold and look distorted. Along with this, the patient will experience discomfort and pain.
There are some things that can be done in order to reduce the risk of developing capsular contracture and this can include:
- The prescribing of medications such as vitamin E or prednisone.
- The placement of the implant in a submuscular position while some surgeons will use Alloderm in order to reduce the risk of the formation of scar tissue.
- The type of implant can make a difference and so, saline implants might be chosen over silicone as these are more likely to lead to scar tissue.
- Patients should avoid smoking prior to undergoing the procedure
- External ultrasound treatment
If people are experiencing the Grade 3 or Grade 4 capsular contracture, then the will need surgical treatment in order to remove the scar tissue that surrounds the breast implant. During the procedure, the surgeon will remove the envelope that surrounds the implant. Therefore, the implants might be removed or even reinserted as part of the procedure.
The Recovery Process
The recovery time will be dependent on a number of things and this will include the procedure that the patient has undergone as well as how quick they head. In most cases, the recovery time is very similar to that of a standard breast augmentation procedure.
To find out more about this procedure, book a free consultation with one of our consultants to find out more.