Reactions to anesthesia, hematoma, seroma (fluid accumulation), infection, pain, lost of sensibility and ability to breast feed, wrinkling and thinning of the breast tissue, asymmetry and symmastya (when the skin of the cleavage separates from stern and unites both breasts) are seen to be possible (if extreme) complications associated with breast augmentations. However the one that is the most common and definitely deserves your extra attention, is Capsular Contracture. When an external element is placed inside the body, it tends to react to protect itself from a possible menace to its integrity. So, after the placement of the implant, a “covering capsule”, made of a woven thread of collagen fibers (resulting in scar tissue) is created around this foreign object to separate him from the natural body’s tissue. No issue so far. The actual contracture, and as the name implies occurs when this capsule thickens too much and starts to squeeze the implant. “Compressing” it, for want of a more clinical word. This condition is painful for the implant bearer; it leads the breast to harden and might even distort both implant and breast, resulting in an ugly bust aspect. Although it can appear anytime after surgery, it’s more common within 2 or 3 months and very rarely occurs after 1 year from it. Bacterial contamination and bleeding inside of the implant pocket can cause this problem. Implant shell rupture and filler leakage can also cause capsular contracture, but nowadays this is uncommon since new generation implants use cohesive gel which prevents leakage. There as been a reflected preoccupation in adopting procedures during the surgery that help to reduce the occurrence of this problem, like limiting the handling of the implants before surgery, irrigation of the implant pocket with antibiotic solutions, the use of textured surfaced implants and a submuscular placement of implant approach, but since a lot of causes can trigger this effect, it is still common to occur. Having said this, I am aware that by this time you might be thinking “what was I thinking?!?”. Do not be afraid. This might be a common complication, but as a result, doctors are pre-disposed to spot it sooner and modern surgical techniques now reduce the severity of the problem. Most of the time, capsular contracture can be treated in a reasonably simple way, using medication, ultrasonic therapy and massage, for example. The most common treatment is simply by the external manipulation and compression of the implant to disrupt the capsule, a maneuver performed by the doctor. Although effective, this maneuver can be painful. Only in severe cases, the correction of the capsular contracture will require another surgery to release the capsule, or even need the removal and replacement of the implant. Tip: You can help yourself to avoid capsular contracture if you compress and massage your breasts regularly after surgery during the recovery time (start after the healing is done and the stitches removed or absorbed). Try during bathing or when you get into bed, whilst trying to make it more habitual. Patients that observe this recommendation seem to be successful in preventing capsular contracture. Have a question? Ask Here


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