Correcting Hardened Breast Implants
Whatever your reasons for getting breast augmentation surgery, there can be complications involved, including hardened breast implants and a painful condition called capsular contracture. Read on to learn what causes this condition, treatment options and how to determine if you are a candidate for treatment.
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What is Capsular Contracture?
Capsular contracture occurs when malformed scar tissue surrounding the breast implant thickens and then begins to actually squeeze the implant. During breast augmentation surgery, a pocket is created in the breast tissue and the implant is inserted into that pocket. Sometimes, as the tissue begins to heal after surgery, a capsule of scar tissue forms to hold the implant in place. When this scar tissue squeezes the implant, it causes the breast to harden or become distorted. Through additional surgery, capsular contracture is corrected and the breasts are returned to their normal condition.
There are essentially four different categories of capsular contracture that are referred to as the Baker Classification. In Grade I, the breast appears soft, normal and flexible. In Grade II, the breast looks normal but can feel hard. In Grade III, the breast looks distorted or rounded and is hard to the touch. Grade IV is similar to Grade III, but the breast appears with a more hardened capsule and there is discomfort or pain.
There are two basic treatment options to surgically repair capsular contracture. The first is called the open capsulotomy and works best for implants that have been placed above the breast muscle and have not ruptured and are not leaking. Basically, an incision is made in the pocket that allows the capsule to open and expand. This results in more space for the implant and will relieve breast stiffness.
The second procedure is called a capsulectomy and is performed when the implant is made of silicone gel and has shown signs of previous trauma. Again, an incision is made to access the pocket and the scar tissue is removed. A brand new implant may be inserted into the breast as this usually provides better long-term results.
After these procedures, the breast area will be wrapped with a special surgical bra to reduce swelling and bruising. A drain may also be placed in the breast if there is any excess fluid. Typically, most patients return to work about a week after surgery but any strenuous exercise or activity should be avoided for at last four weeks following the procedure.
First and foremost, ideal candidates for any capsular contracture procedure must be in good overall health and emotionally prepared for the surgery. Potential patients should always refrain from smoking for at least two weeks before surgery and avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medications because these can increase bleeding. Although these procedures have been shown to be very effective, patients should be aware of all the options, potential side effects and maintain realistic expectations concerning the outcome.
Patients who do have either of these procedures typically have one or more of the following symptoms:
• Breasts that have hardened over time.
• Pain and stiffness.
• Deformed or misshapen breasts.
Best Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
If you fit into any of these categories and feel you are a candidate for one of these procedures, contact Dr. Gabriel Chiu, the best plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Dr. Gabriel Chiu is a renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon specializing in the art of aesthetic plastic surgery. He can help you examine all of your cosmetic surgery options. With the help of Dr. Chiu and his team at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, you can look and feel your best both professionally and in your personal life.