At Meridian Plastic Surgery, Dr. Tjelmeland finds that many of his breast augmentation candidates have researched the procedure online well in advance of making their initial consultation appointment with him. And some of these Austin patients, while still desiring a breast augmentation, are concerned about a potential breast augmentation complication – capsular contracture. Dr. Tjelmeland wants to make sure you have the most accurate information about any plastic surgery procedure you are considering, and he is here to explain what capsular contracture is, how women can recognize it, how you can treat it and how you can sometimes prevent capsular contracture from occurring in the first place.
What is Capsular Contracture?
Capsular contracture is rare, but still a possible breast augmentation complication that some Austin women may develop after having breast implants placed. With capsular contracture, women develop excessive scar tissue around their breast implant in the breast pocket – the “envelope” of tissue in which the breast implant resides. As a result, their augmented breasts may be hard, sit higher up on the chest than normal, and be misshapen.
How Do Austin Women Know if They Have Capsular Contracture?
After a breast augmentation surgery, all implants will sit higher than normal and feel hard to touch as your body heals and recovers. But, if your implants don’t drop into a natural-looking place, and they still feel hard to the touch after six months, you may have capsular contracture. In addition, capsular contracture may also occur months or years after the initial breast augmentation. But for some Austin women, capsular contracture may not be as noticeable.
There are four different types, or grades, of capsular contracture:
- Grade One, in which women will notice that their augmented breasts are soft and look natural. This is the least severe and hardest type of capsular contracture to detect;
- Grade Two, in which women will notice that while their breasts look normal, they are slightly firm;
- Grade Three, in which a woman’s breast or breasts are firm and look abnormal; and
- Grade Four, in which the breast or breasts are painful, hard to the touch and look abnormal.
How Can You Treat Capsular Contracture?
Capsular contracture is a treatable condition. Depending on the severity of your condition and other factors unique to your case, most Austin patients will choose revision surgery with Dr. Tjelmeland to eliminate the capsular contracture. With a breast revision surgery for capsular contracture, Dr. Tjelmeland will:
- Remove your original breast implants;
- Surgically remove the scar tissue that developed around your original breast implants;
- Perform any pocket modifications if needed; and
- Place new breast implants sub-muscularly.
Is There a Way Austin Women Can Prevent Capsular Contracture from Occurring in the First Place?
While there are no surefire tips for completely avoiding capsular contracture, skilled plastic surgeons like Dr. Tjelmeland know the surgical techniques to prevent capsular contracture from happening in the first place. These techniques include:
- Under the Muscle Placement.
There are two places a breast implant can be placed. Either under the pectoral muscle, which is the most common placement, or above the pectoral muscle. Under the muscle breast implant placement, also called submuscular breast implant placement, isn’t only common with Austin women, but it reduces your risk of developing capsular contracture by about 8 to 12%.
- Careful Surgical Technique
Because oftentimes capsular contracture can occur when bleeding occurs around the implant, it is imperative to find a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon such as Dr. Tjelmeland in Austin to perform the initial breast augmentation. Careful and meticulous surgical skills can oftentimes aid in the prevention of capsular contraction and can avoid future complications of the breast augmentation.
- Practicing Breast Massage.
Whether an Austin woman has submuscular or sub-glandular breast implant placement, the best way to prevent capsular contracture from occurring is by performing daily breast massage – as soon as Dr. Tjelmeland clears you to do so, that is. To massage your breasts, you will want to move your breasts, left and right several times a day so that the implants experience movement.
- Carefully Following Post-Operative Instructions
Patients can also help to avoid capsular contracture by carefully following the post-operative instructions given to them by Dr. Tjelmeland. Many times, capsular contracture is formed when bleeding around the implant occurs. It is important for Austin patients to rest and avoid vigorous movement during the first few days after surgery. Being mindful of restrictions is paramount to a successful recovery from the initial breast augmentation as is with any surgery.
Where Can Women Learn More About Capsular Contracture?
The thought of getting a complication from a breast augmentation can be scary, but it’s important to remember that capsular contracture only occurs in a very small percentage of Austin women. If you have more questions about capsular contracture or think you are experiencing it, it’s important that you visit Dr. Tjelmeland today.