How to Prevent Capsular Contracture After Breast Augmentation Surgery
By Plastic Surgeon Dr. Christopher Patronella
What is Capsular Contracture?
When an implant is placed during breast augmentation surgery, the body normally forms a very specialized layer of scar tissue around the implant. This is called a capsule. The capsule forms in a very specific way around the implant.
The implant should move in the space within the capsule. When the implant doesn’t move in that space, it is restricted. And that’s called a capsular contracture. There are various grades of capsular contracture. A very mild one might be a grade 1. A very severe one is a grade 4, which would be demonstrated by a very hard feel of the implant and a distortion of its shape.
After I perform a breast augmentation procedure for a patient, we try to control the formation of the capsule by having a woman do implant displacement exercises. The instructional video below demonstrates the way it is performed. Capsular contracture can very much be prevented by properly performing the implant displacement exercise, which we will show you how to do in your follow-up appointment with me after your surgery.
The Implant Displacement Exercise
The body begins to form the capsule around the implant very early after breast augmentation —surgery—within days. It’s fully formed within a month. We ask our patients to begin the Implant Displacement Exercise within days of surgery so that the implant doesn’t lock in place and become firm over time. It’s not a massage but rather a technique to displace the implant.
To perform the exercise, the implant is squeezed at the bottom and pushed to the top—nearly to the collar bone—and held in place so that the pectoralis muscle which comes across the top of the breast is stretched. And then the implant is pushed back down into the lower portion of the breast. This motion is then repeated—squeeze the bottom of the implant, push up, press down. We ask our patients to do this exercise five to six times a day for the first six weeks and, after that, daily for the rest of their lives. Just make sure that the implant is fully mobile in the pocket in an up and down direction.
The body will form the capsule, and we’re trying to train the body into forming a long capsule around the implant moves very easily in that pocket. And that’s the purpose of the exercise. It’s a very important part of long-term maintenance.
To schedule your consultation with Dr. Patronella, please contact us, and a friendly member of our patient education team will be in touch with you.