Any time you receive an implant, scar tissue forms a protective layer around the object to hold it in place. This tissue is known as a capsule and usually develops without you noticing.
Unfortunately, this capsule sometimes thickens or contracts. This phenomenon is called breast capsular contracture, and it causes breasts to distort, harden, or lift higher on your chest. Capsular contracture can occur as early as a few months after implantation, or as late as a few years.
In most cases, a capsulectomy takes care of any discomfort or distortion to the breast. What is a capsulectomy? A capsulectomy, a breast implant replacement, and our doctors at Soma Plastics have mastered the advanced techniques needed for successfully carrying out this breast procedure.
How to Know If You Need a Capsulectomy
The Baker scale below can help you measure your discomfort so you and your doctor can determine whether you need the capsulectomy procedure.
- Grade I: Breasts feel natural and soft
- Grade II: Breasts look natural but are firm to the touch
- Grade III: Breasts feel firm and look unbalanced, distorted, or lopsided
- Grade IV: Breasts feel firm, look distorted, and are often painful
Some capsular contracture around implants is normal. However, if you experience Grade III or IV discomfort, you may be a candidate for a breast capsulectomy and seek a doctor’s opinion.
What to Expect from a Breast Capsulectomy Procedure
Candidates for breast capsulectomy should expect the procedure to follow these steps:
- First, you will receive a general anesthetic that will put you to sleep for your surgery duration.
- Your surgeon will then make an incision in the same place as the scars from your first surgery. Making the incisions here will reduce any additional, visible scarring.
- The surgeon will remove your implant and all or part of the capsule your implant created, depending on the severity of your scar tissue.
- Your surgeon will insert a new implant. Doctors often wrap the new implant in a synthetic skin material made mostly of collagen to protect your implant and prevent more thick tissue from forming.
- Your surgeon will close the incision and wrap your chest with gauze. The full procedure usually lasts 60-90 minutes.
Breast capsulectomy procedures are outpatient surgeries. However, your doctor may ask you to stay the night in the hospital to ensure your incision heals properly. Either way, you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital and help you with routine tasks for 24 to 48 hours.
You can expect your recovery to last about two weeks, during which time you should avoid physical activity. If your scar tissue was particularly thick around your implant, your surgeon might include temporary drainage tubes around your breasts to decrease swelling for the first week.
Your breasts will feel sore after the surgery, so you should wear a compression bra over your chest wrap until the swelling has gone down. Often, your doctor will supply you with a surgical bra. You may also experience a burning sensation around your nipples until your bruises heal.
Breast Capsulectomy Costs and Categories
The cost of a capsulectomy varies due to a patient’s surgical requirements, the surgeon’s experience, and whether you need a total capsulectomy or a subtotal capsulectomy. A total capsulectomy includes the complete removal of your breast implant and scar tissue capsule.
Depending on the thickness of your scar tissue, your surgeon will elect to remove the implant first, and then the capsule. Alternatively, they may perform an en bloc capsulectomy in which they remove the implant and capsule together. This second type of total capsulectomy often occurs with ruptured implants.
With a subtotal or partial capsulectomy, your surgeon will not need to remove your entire capsule. However, as with a total capsulectomy, the full implant will be removed and replaced.
Cautions and Possible Complications
While uncommon, complications can occur with capsulectomy procedures. To limit your risks, keep these precautions in mind:
- Smoking reduces the flow of blood in your body and, therefore, your body’s healing capabilities. If you smoke, try your best to quit.
- Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications or supplements before your procedure. Tell your doctor any prescriptions you are taking before any surgeries.
- Capsular contracture occurs more often in patients with a genetic predisposition to increased scar tissue, have undergone radiation therapy, had an infection in their original breast implant incision, experienced a hematoma or seroma during, or soon after, the implantation, or had a ruptured implant.
Over time, breasts change shape naturally. However, some instances require a capsulectomy procedure to sufficiently return your breasts to their optimal shape and feel.
If you have experienced chronic pain or significant embarrassment over your breasts’ look and feel, a capsulectomy may be the answer to your concerns.
Call us to learn more today.