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Symptoms of Breast Implant Capsular Contracture

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Symptoms of Breast Implant Capsular ContractureBreast augmentation cosmetic surgery has emerged over the years as one of the most popular and effective procedures in the United States. But most women who receive implants may require implant replacement at least once in their lifetime.

Capsular contracture is one of the main complications that may occur with implants, necessitating a breast revision surgery. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Eugene Kim provides breast implant revision surgery to patients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, CA, and surrounding locations.


Signs and Symptoms

Capsular contracture develops in one or both breasts and can occur at any time, either in the weeks following breast implant surgery (this occurs most often) or, in some cases, years later.

The symptoms of this condition develop slowly, and may include:

  • The primary indication of capsular contracture is an increasing tightness of the breast
  • The breast implants seem to be high-riding on the chest, much more than earlier
  • The breast implant is distorted and may appear round or “ball-like.” Noticeable rippling may occur as well
  • The breast implant appears smaller and/or does not move around
  • Tightness or pain in the breast, especially as the tightness increases


Preliminary Symptoms  

According to some estimates, only around five percent of the women who receive breast implants develop capsular contracture over time. However, it is not possible to determine which patient may develop this condition and when.

In around 75 percent of the cases, the initial symptoms of capsular contracture will develop within the first two days of the surgery.

There may be implant rupture in cases where capsular contracture has developed after many years of the augmentation procedure.

But implant rupture is not risky with the highly cohesive silicone gel implants available today. In the hands of a skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeon, the risk of early implant failure may be lower.


Loss of Natural Softness of Breast

Once the recovery is complete after the breast augmentation cosmetic surgery, the breasts will normally feel natural and soft. The patient will experience slight firmness in the breasts as the months and years progress. However, the natural suppleness will remain.

Sometimes, if a woman feels that the breast does not feel naturally soft and appear hard to touch, it may be an indication of capsular contracture.

An outward sign of capsular contracture is when one or both breasts change from a soft breast in a youthful position to one that is progressively becoming rounder, harder, and riding high up the chest. The patient may experience pain also if the condition remains untreated for some time.


Classifying the Symptoms

A subjective scale, known as Baker Classification, is often used to classify the symptoms of capsular contracture, depending on the degree of the problem.

Grade I: The breast feels soft with a natural appearance like a normal breast does.

Grade II: The breast feels slightly firm, but looks normal

Grade III: The breast becomes firm as well as awkward appearance, but the patient does not experience pain

Grade IV: The breast becomes harder and the shape is abnormal, and the patient also feels pain in the breast

While the reasons for the development of capsular contracture are not entirely known, it is advisable for patients to work with an experienced breast surgeon to minimize the risk of complications.  


Plastic surgeon Dr. Eugene Kim receives patients from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, CA, and nearby areas for breast implant revision surgery.

Click here see more plastic surgery procedures and treatments performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Eugene Kim on patients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and surrounding areas or call 310-271-6996 to schedule a consultation.

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