Breast Implant Capsular Contracture

Breast Implant Capsular Contracture By One of the Leading TAMPA Surgeons

Learn More About Breast Implant Capsular Contracture


Breast augmentation surgery is a transformative procedure that can enhance one’s confidence and body image. However, like any surgical intervention, it carries the risk of complications, one of the most common being capsular contracture. At Brandon Plastic Surgery, we are committed to providing advanced and effective treatments for capsular contracture, including innovative ultrasound therapy.

Brandon Plastic Surgery is located 51 Minutes from Lakeland, 35 minutes from Wesley Chapel and one hour from Winter Haven.


What is Breast Implant Capsular Contracture?

Breast implant capsular contracture is a common complication following breast augmentation surgery. It occurs when the scar tissue (capsule) that naturally forms around a breast implant hardens and contracts excessively, leading to changes in the breast’s shape and firmness and sometimes causing discomfort or pain. Capsular contracture is classified into four grades based on severity:

Grade I

The breast remains soft and appears natural in shape and feel. The capsule around the implant is not noticeable, and there are no symptoms of discomfort or changes in the breast’s appearance.

Grade II

While the breast may still appear normal, a mild increase in firmness can be felt upon examination. At this stage, there is typically no pain or distortion in the breast’s shape.

Grade III

The breast is firmer and begins to appear abnormal. The tightness of the capsule may cause noticeable changes in the breast’s shape, such as a more spherical appearance, and it may start to feel uncomfortable or painful.

Grade IV

The most severe form; the breast is hard, painful, and noticeably distorted. The implant may shift out of position, and the tight capsule can cause significant discomfort and a visibly unnatural appearance.

Causes of Capsular Contracture

The exact cause of capsular contracture is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development:

Bacterial Contamination

Subclinical bacterial contamination during surgery can trigger an inflammatory response, leading to excessive scar tissue formation. Even minimal bacterial presence can initiate this process.

Hematoma or Seroma

The accumulation of blood or fluid around the implant can increase the risk of inflammation and capsular contracture. These fluids provide an environment conducive to bacterial growth.

Surgical Technique

Improper handling of the implant, non-sterile techniques, or excessive trauma to the tissue during surgery can elevate the risk of capsular contracture. It is crucial to use meticulous surgical methods to minimize tissue trauma and ensure aseptic conditions.

Type and Texture of Implant

The surface texture of the implant may influence the likelihood of capsular contracture. Smooth implants are associated with a higher risk compared to textured implants, which may reduce the risk by disrupting the organization of scar tissue.

Implant Placement

Implants placed above the pectoral muscle (subglandular) have a higher incidence of capsular contracture compared to those placed beneath the muscle (submuscular). The additional tissue coverage provided by the muscle may reduce inflammation and scar tissue formation.

Patient Factors

Individual factors such as genetic predisposition, smoking, and overall health can influence the body’s healing response and susceptibility to capsular contracture.

Immune Response

Some patients may have an exaggerated immune response to the implant, resulting in more aggressive scar tissue formation.

Radiation Therapy

Patients who have undergone radiation therapy, especially in cases of breast reconstruction post-mastectomy, are at a higher risk for developing capsular contracture due to the tissue changes induced by radiation.


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Traditional Approaches to Capsular Contracture

Traditional treatments for capsular contracture range from conservative methods to surgical interventions; non-surgical options include medications that may help reduce inflammation and soften the capsule. Additionally, massage and physical therapy can sometimes be effective in the early stages to maintain softness and prevent the capsule from tightening. However, when non-surgical methods prove ineffective, surgical interventions may be necessary. These can include a capsulotomy, where the scar tissue is cut to relieve tightness, or a capsulectomy, which involves the complete removal of the scar tissue capsule.

While often effective, traditional approaches to capsular contracture come with significant downsides. Surgical interventions involve recovery time, potential complications, and the risk of recurrence, and non-surgical options may not always provide lasting relief and can require prolonged treatment periods.


The Benefits of the Ultrasound Alternative

Ultrasound therapy is emerging as a promising non-invasive alternative for treating capsular contracture. This method offers several significant benefits:


Ultrasound therapy does not require incisions or surgery. It uses high-frequency sound waves to target and break down the scar tissue around the implant.

Precision Targeting

The ultrasound device can be precisely targeted to the affected area, minimizing damage to surrounding tissues and ensuring effective treatment.

Minimal Discomfort

Patients typically experience minimal discomfort during and after the procedure. The treatment is often described as feeling like a gentle warming sensation.

No Downtime

One of the most attractive aspects of ultrasound therapy is the lack of downtime. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately after the treatment.

Effective Results

Studies have shown that ultrasound therapy can effectively reduce the hardness of the capsule and improve the overall appearance and feel of the breast. Many patients report significant improvement after a series of treatments.

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The Ultrasound Capsular Contracture Treatment Process

The ultrasound treatment process for capsular contracture begins with a thorough consultation with Dr. Brandon to assess the severity of the contracture and determine if ultrasound therapy is an appropriate treatment option.

During the procedure, the ultrasound device is gently moved over the affected area, allowing high-frequency sound waves to penetrate and break down the scar tissue. Each session typically lasts about 30 minutes, depending on the extent of the contracture. Multiple sessions are usually required for optimal results, with treatments spaced a week apart.


Recovery from ultrasound therapy is straightforward; there is no need for anesthesia or significant downtime. Patients may experience mild redness or swelling in the treated area, but this typically resolves quickly.  Normal activities can be resumed immediately, and post-treatment care is minimal.

Your Consultation for Ultrasound Capsular Contracture Treatment

At Brandon Plastic Surgery, we are dedicated to providing innovative and effective solutions for our patients. If you are experiencing symptoms of capsular contracture, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our experienced team.

Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome with minimal discomfort and downtime. During your consultation, we will evaluate your condition, discuss your medical history, and determine if ultrasound therapy is the right option for you. Contact us today to learn more about how ultrasound therapy can improve your quality of life and restore the natural look and feel of your breasts.


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Breast Implant FAQS

What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture happens when the capsule of scar tissue that forms around any breast implant hardens and contracts, distorting the breast in a way that can be very painful. It’s the most common complication of breast implant surgery, happening for as many as 10% of patients, more often after implant revision surgery.

How can you avoid capsular contracture?

Most doctors now believe bacterial contamination during surgery could be the biggest culprit for triggering capsular contracture down the road. Patients can take steps to prevent capsular contracture by taking a prophylactic antibiotic before any procedure.

What are the early signs of capsular contracture?

One of the first capsular contracture symptoms is firmness to the touch in the area around the implant. If it progresses, the breast can become distorted. It’s important to see your doctor in person, if you suspect you may have capsular contracture. The look and feel of hardness surrounding your implant is seen and/or felt.

What happens during capsular contracture surgery?

Capsular contracture surgery, which removes and replaces the implant, is recommended for Grades III and IV. There are two types of surgery: a capsulotomy and a capsulectomy. rnrnA capsulotomy creates more space around the implant. This surgery can be either open or closed. An open capsulectomy involves an incision created at the implant site, to make more room and remove the capsule of tissue, while the closed capsulotomy entails manually compressing the area, to break up the scar tissue. Though the latter is less invasive, it comes with a greater risk of rupturing the implant. rnrnA capsulectomy, on the other hand, removes the implant entirely from the capsule of scar tissue. The surgery can end there, if you don’t want a new implant. rnrnAlternatively, a new implant may be placed in a new pocket under the muscle (if it was originally over the muscle) or vice versa. The goal is to avoid bacterial contamination, which could lead to recurrent capsular contracture. A scaffolding material or acellular dermal matrix (a tissue graft) may be inserted around it, to provide support around the new implant.

What should you expect during recovery?

You may feel sore and tired during the first 48 to 72 hours following surgery. During these first few days, you may engage in light activities but must refrain from lifting or raising your arms above your head. Swelling and bruising will subside during the first week after surgery and can be managed with pain medication. rnrnYou’ll be able to shower after about three days and can return to work within a week. rnrnYou may have drains to alleviate fluid buildup. Those will likely be removed at your first follow-up appointment.

Is it possible to treat capsular contracture non-surgically?

There are a few less invasive capsular contracture treatment options, including ultrasound therapy used to break up the scar tissue forming the capsule surrounding the implant.

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