When performed by a professional with the experience and skill of New Orleans plastic surgeon Kamran Khoobehi, breast augmentation is one of the safest and most consistently successful surgeries available. However, all surgeries carry with them some degree of risk, and breast augmentation is no exception. One of the more common risks associated with breast augmentation is capsular contracture.
What Is Capsular Contracture?
Any time a foreign object is placed in the human body, a protective lining will form around it. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. Indeed, it is inevitable that such a lining will develop around breast implants, regardless of their size, shape, or texture or whether they are filled with silicone gel or saline. In most cases, this capsule-like lining produces no visible effects.
Some shrinkage of the capsule is natural and to be expected. However, in some cases, the capsule shrinks excessively, squeezing the breast implant and affecting its appearance, often dramatically. The breast implant will feel hard to the touch, although it does not actually harden; the shrunken capsule simply compresses it to the point that it loses its elasticity. Over time, the breast implant can contract into a round, globe-like shape. In the most extreme cases of capsular contracture, the breast shape becomes badly distorted, and the patient experiences discomfort or even pain.
At our plastic surgery center in New Orleans, capsular contracture occurs in a relatively small percentage of our patients. It is a risk that all breast augmentation patients face, regardless of where they have the surgery performed or by whom. The condition affects patients seemingly at random. There is no apparent commonality among patients who are affected by capsular contracture, and therefore there is no way to determine in advance those at greater risk.
Treatment of Capsular Contracture
In advanced cases of capsular contracture, the only effective treatment is a surgical procedure called a capsulotomy. There are two techniques for performing a capsulotomy:
- Loosening the capsule: Using this technique, Dr. Khoobehi makes strategically placed incisions in the capsule in order to free the implant from being constricted. Dr. Khoobehi may use this technique if he feels that the implant does not require replacement and that the aesthetic results will be good.
- Removing the capsule: Using this technique, Dr. Khoobehi removes the capsule altogether. This technique tends to be more effective than loosening the capsule; however, there is a slight risk that capsular contracture may recur when the new capsule develops. This is very, very rare, however.
If the breast implant must be removed, Dr. Khoobehi can replace the implant, transfer the patient’s own fat from one area of the body to the breast, or combine the two approaches. Dr. Khoobehi is a pioneer in fat transfer to the breasts, and is capable of excellent results using this method. He determines which revision method is best suited to the individual patient based on many factors at the time of the surgery.
Learn More about Capsular Contracture
To learn more about capsular contracture, please contact our New Orleans plastic surgery practice today.