What is capsular contracture?

The body normally forms a thin layer of pliable scar tissue around any foreign substance placed into it.  This occurs whether the device is an artificial knee, artificial hip, a prosthetic joint or a breast implant.  This process is beneficial because it keeps the implant in the space created for it – the pocket made at  the time of surgery.  Sometimes this scar layer, or capsule, will contract around a breast implant and render the breast hard in consistency.  This is a biological and not a surgical cause of breast hardening and essentially represents an over-reaction by the immune system.  The shape of the breast may change if this process becomes more advanced.  In extreme cases the condition may be painful enough to require surgical correction by complete removal of the scar capsule and replacement of the implant.  This treatment is usually successful although recurrence of dense scar tissue around the implant can happen in some women, particularly those in whom the process affects both sides.  The cause of excessive capsule formation, or capsular contracture, is not known.  Fortunately, capsular contracture requiring additional surgery occurs in only about 5 percent of` women.  This rate is even lower in Dr. Glatt’s practice and he takes all measures to avoid the formation of capsular contracture.

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