WHAT IS CAPSULAR
When anything is placed in the tissues of the human body, a very thin layer of scar tissue forms around it. This is true whether it is an artificial hip or a breast implant that is inserted. The scar tissue wraps around the implant like a bag. Normally, the scar tissue is very thin and almost transparent. You wouldn't even know it is there. That is why it is normally not a problem. However, for reasons that are not well understood, the scar tissue can gradually, or suddenly, become thicker and firmer. As the scar tissue thickens and firms, it tightens around the implant. The normally soft feeling implant then becomes firm to the touch. When this happens, it is called Capsular Contracture. If the scar tissue tightens more, it squeezes on the implant causing it to appear very round and "high." If the scar worsens, there may even be pain.
WHAT IS CAPSULAR CONTRACTURE?
This is an example of a severe case of Capsular Contracture.
Unfortunately, Capsular Contracture is the most common complication associated with breast augmentation. The percent chance of it occuring varies greatly. In some cases, it can be as low as 1% or as high as 20%. Also, capsular contracure can happen at any time. Some patients develop it years after their surgery.
Dr. Diaz's rate of capsular contracture has been studied and is 1%, which is the lowest rate observed.
The capsule is made of a combination of scar tissue and other cells. The scar tissue is composed of abnormally organized collagen fibers. There may also be cells, called myofibroblasts, present. Myofibroblasts can contract, similar to muscle cells, and cause the tightening and shrinking of the capsule.
Click on the video to see Dr. Diaz provide a brief visual demonstration of what capsular contracture is.
The breast may not change very much in appearance in mild cases of capsular contracure. These mild cases may respond to non surgical treatments to correct it. However, if capsular contracture progresses, it can cause distortion of the breast shape and even pain. Once capsular contracture is advanced, only surgical treatments will be successful at correction.
This is a photo of an implant after it was removed from a severely thickened and hardened capsule. Note how much smaller the capsule is. This created severe tightening of the implant and resulted in distortion of the patient's breast shape.
This is a photo of a thin capsule around