How to Prevent Capsular Contracture

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Capsular contraction refers to the hardening and pain that can develop around a breast implant. It is the natural reaction of the body forming scar tissue around any foreign object. When this scar tissue tightens and causes pain, the tissue around the implant becomes firm and unnatural looking. Such a condition is sometimes referred to as "coconut breasts."

Learn how to massage your breast every day to soften scar tissue. Stop smoking, which is a major risk factor for capsular contracture. Maintain good general health to further reduce risks.

Ask your surgeon whether you should take vitamin E daily in higher doses. Vitamin E is believed to promote healing of tissues and to soften scar tissue. Discuss how sanitary conditions in the operating room might affect risks of capsular contracture.

Take an asthma medication such as zafirlukast twice a day for six months, with your doctor's permission. The medication blocks the production of substances that contribute to inflammation and the formation of scar tissue.

Consider wearing a compression garment or bandage over the breast to prevent the formation of hard scar tissue.

Discuss with your surgeon the advantages of submuscular placement of the implant, as well a smooth versus textured implants. Don't choose a nipple incision because of the risk of bacterial infection

Tips & Warnings

  • Capsular contractions usually occur just after surgery or much later. There is, unfortunately, no way to predict if or when contractions may occur. Capsular contractions occur in 10 percent to 50 percent of breast implants. This means that the risk of severe capsular contraction is 10 percent while the risk of mild contraction is approximately 50 percent.
  • The highest risk of contracture is when textured silicone breast implants are placed over the muscle underlying the breast through a small incision in the nipple.The lowest risk is the use of smooth saline implants positioned under the muscle through an incision in the lower breast.

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