Breast Capsulectomy

What Is Breast Implant Capsulectomy?

Do Your Breast Implants look misshaped; feel firm, tight and painful?  Scar tissue around your implant can become so tight that it causes problems with the look or feel of your breasts.

Sometimes as a result of Breast Augmentation scar tissue can form as part of the natural healing process.  If the scar tissue becomes enlarged, hard or too thick, this can directly cause pain or negatively affect the result you desired before having the surgery.  You may need a capsulectomy.

What Is Capsular Contractor?

Your body forms a protective capsule of thick scar tissue around any foreign object inside of it. When you get breast implants, this protective capsule helps keep them in place.

For most people, the capsule feels soft or a little firm. However, for some people who get implants, the capsule can tighten around their implants and create a condition called capsular contracture.

Capsular contracture is the most common complication for breast implant surgeries and occurs in about 10.6 percent of women with implants. It can lead to chronic pain and distortion of your breasts.

What Causes Capsular Contracture?

People who receive breast implants will develop a capsule around their implant to keep it in place. However, only roughly 10.6  of people with implants develop capsular contracture.

It’s not entirely clear why some develop capsular contracture and some don’t. It’s thought that capsular contracture may be an inflammatory response that causes your body to produce an excess of collagen fibers.

Who Needs Capsulectomy Surgery?

Capsulectomy surgery removes the tough scar tissue around your breast implants known as capsular contractures. Capsular contracture can be measured using a method called the Baker scale, which has four grades:

  1. Grade I: Your breasts look soft and natural.
  2. Grade II: Your breasts look normal but feel firm.
  3. Grade III: Your breasts look abnormal and feel firm.
  4. Grade IV: Your breasts are hard, look abnormal, and feel painful.

Grade I and Grade II capsular contracture don’t require surgery.

Women with grade III and IV capsular contracture often require either a capsulectomy or a less invasive surgery called a capsulotomy to reduce pain and regain the natural appearance of their breasts.

How Is Capsular Contracture Managed?

Serious cases of capsular contracture are usually managed with surgery called a Capsulectomy.

What Is The Difference Between Capsulectomy vs. Capsulotomy?

Even though a capsulectomy and capsulotomy may sound similar, they’re different surgeries. The suffix “ectomy” refers to a surgery that involves removing something. The suffix “tomy” refers to making an incision or cut.

A capsulectomy is more invasive and has a higher risk of complications including nerve damage. During a capsulectomy, a surgeon removes all or part of your capsule from your breast and replaces your implant.

What Are The Risks For Breast Capsulectomy Surgery?

The most common complications of breast capsulectomy include bleeding and bruising.

You might be able to return home the same day as the surgery, or you may need to spend a night in the hospital.

How Is A Breast Capsulectomy Performed?

A Breast Capsulectomy surgery is performed under general anesthesia so that you’re asleep through the surgery. Your surgeon makes an incision along the scars from your original implant surgery and remove your implant.

Depending on the type of capsulectomy being performed, your surgeon  will remove either part or all of the capsule.

If you decide or opt for a new implant, a new implant will be inserted. The implant may be wrapped in a skin substitute material to prevent thick scar tissue from forming. The surgeon then closes the incision with stitches and wraps your breasts with gauze dressing after the surgery.

What Are The Types of Capsulectomy?

Capsulectomy is an open surgery, which means that it requires a surgical incision. Capsulectomies can be divided into two types:

  1. Total Capsulectomy: During a total capsulectomy, the surgeon removes your breast implant and your entire capsule of scar tissue. Your surgeon may remove the implant first before removing the capsule. They then replace your implant once the capsule is removed.
  2. En Bloc Capsulectomy: An en bloc capsulectomy is a variation on a total capsulectomy. During this type of surgery, your surgeon removes your implant and capsule together instead of one at a time. This may be the best option if you have a ruptured breast implant.In some cases, this type of capsulectomy may not be possible if the capsule is too thin.
  3. Subtotal Capsulectomy: A subtotal or partial capsulectomy only removes part of the capsule.  As with a total capsulectomy, your breast implant is likely to be replaced during this type of surgery. A subtotal capsulectomy may not require as large of an incision as a total capsulectomy, so it may leave a smaller scar.

How Is Capsulectomy Recovery?

After your surgery, your breasts may feel sore. You may be instructed to wear a compression bra on top of your surgical dressing for several days or weeks.

Depending on how thick the capsule was or if your implants were ruptured, your surgeon may place temporary drainage tubes in the area to help decrease swelling. These tubes are usually removed in about a week.

Your surgeon can give you a specific time frame for your recovery. In general, a breast capsulectomy takes about 2 weeks to recover from completely.

It’s a good idea to avoid strenuous activity and smoking until you’re completely healed.