Breast augmentation is a very popular cosmetic surgery that usually yields great results with no complications. However, in some cases, patients can experience a complication called capsular contracture. When this problem occurs, it can negatively impact both the look and feel of the breasts, and for some women, it can also lead to chronic pain. If you’re dealing with a serious case of capsular contracture after your breast augmentation procedure, you may need a capsulectomy.
What Is Capsular Contracture?
When you have breast implants inserted into your chest, your body naturally forms protective “capsules” of thick scar tissue around them. This tissue helps to keep the implants in place and protected. Typically, these capsules will be soft or slightly firm. However, in some cases, the scar tissue can gradually tighten around the implants, which is when capsular contracture occurs. As the capsule becomes tighter around the implant, it can start to distort the appearance of the breast and make it feel hard to the touch. In some patients, frequent discomfort can be a symptom of capsular contracture as well.
What Is Capsulectomy?
Capsulectomy is a surgical procedure used to eliminate the symptoms of capsular contracture and restore the shape and feel of the affected breast(s).
How Is Capsulectomy Performed?
Depending on the specific needs of the patient, there are three different types of capsulectomy that may be performed:
During a total capsulectomy, Dr. Craft removes both the affected breast implant and the entire capsule of scar tissue separately. Depending on your personal preferences and treatment plan, your breast implant may then be replaced with a new, customized implant.
Another common type of capsulectomy is the subtotal or partial capsulectomy. Like the total capsulectomy, this procedure involves removing and, usually, replacing the affected breast implant. However, instead of removing the entire capsule of scar tissue, Dr. Craft will remove only a section of it. Subtotal capsulectomy generally requires a slightly smaller incision than total capsulectomy, which results in less visible scarring.
En Bloc Capsulectomy
The least common type of capsulectomy is the en bloc capsulectomy. During this surgery, both the affected breast implant and capsule are removed simultaneously as one piece. This type of capsulectomy, which is the most complex version of the surgery, is most commonly performed in the case of a ruptured implant. Additionally, en bloc capsulectomy is typically chosen for patients with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
Benefits of Capsulectomy
Capsulectomy can provide all of the following benefits for patients suffering from capsular contracture:
- Restores the shape and overall appearance of the breast(s)
- Restores the soft, natural feel of the breast(s)
- Alleviates any pain caused by capsular contracture
- Increased self-confidence
- Additional wardrobe options
- Restores breast symmetry
What Should I Expect During the Surgery?
If you believe that you’re a candidate for capsulectomy, the first step will be to have a consultation with Dr. Craft. During this meeting, the doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and help you decide whether or not capsulectomy is the best option for you. He’ll also work with you to determine which type of capsulectomy is an ideal fit and to create a custom-tailored treatment plan.
Your capsulectomy will likely be performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. Once you’ve been rendered temporarily unconscious, Dr. Craft will begin by making the necessary incision along the crease of the affected breast. After that, the specifics of the procedure will depend on which type of capsulectomy you’re undergoing. When he has finished removing the capsule and implant and, if applicable, inserting the new implant, the doctor will close the incision and bandage the area. Overall, the procedure typically takes around two to three hours to complete.
How Long Is the Recovery Time?
Usually, you’ll be able to return home a few hours after your capsulectomy, but you’ll need someone else to drive you home. Dr. Craft will give you thorough instructions for the recovery process, and he may also prescribe you pain medication. You will likely experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the days following your procedure. You may also need to temporarily sleep on your back and wear a surgical support bra.
Most patients can return to work and resume their normal activities in approximately one to two weeks after the procedure. However, it’s best to wait at least a month before resuming strenuous physical activity.
Am I a Candidate for Capsulectomy?
Anyone experiencing significant capsular contracture after breast augmentation surgery could be a good candidate for capsulectomy. Ideal candidates for the procedure should:
- Be in generally good physical health
- Have significant symptoms of capsular contracture
- Be free of active infections
- Not be currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Not have untreated breast cancer or pre-cancerous breast disease
- Have realistic expectations
Why Choose CraftMD for Your Capsulectomy?
It’s important to have your capsulectomy performed by a highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeon. At CraftMD, you’ll be under the care of double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Randall O. Craft. He and his team believe in compassionate, patient-centric care, and they’ll go the extra mile to ensure that your capsulectomy yields wonderful results and fully eliminates your capsular contracture. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.