After breast implant surgery, it is possible to experience a complication called capsular contracture. This occurs when the body forms a scar tissue capsule around a foreign object, such as a breast implant. Sometimes, this capsule can become thick and tight, leading to discomfort, pain, and changes in the shape of the breast. While no single cause of capsular contracture exists, certain factors can increase the risk of developing it, like the following:
- Bacterial contamination during surgery
- Bleeding or hematoma formation after surgery
- Implant rupture or leakage
- Radiation therapy
- Autoimmune disorders
- Genetic predisposition
Capsular contracture may develop at any point after surgery, but it is more prevalent within the first few months. The severity can vary from mild to severe and may impact one or both breasts.
Tips to Prevent Capsular Contracture
Preventing capsular contracture is crucial to successful breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery. Here are some strategies that you can follow to reduce your risk of developing capsular contracture:
Choose the Right Surgeon
Choosing the right surgeon is the first and most crucial step in preventing capsular contracture. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in breast augmentation or reconstruction surgeries. Check their credentials and read reviews from their previous patients. A skilled surgeon will be able to minimize the risk of complications and ensure that your implants are placed correctly.
Follow Your Surgeon’s Post-Operative Care Instructions
Following your surgeon's post-operative care instructions is essential to prevent capsular contracture. You should avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, or exercise for at least four to six weeks after surgery. You should also wear a supportive bra and avoid sleeping on your stomach to prevent pressure on your breasts. Attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon to ensure that your recovery is going well.
Regular massage is an effective way to prevent capsular contracture. Massaging your breasts can help to keep the implant pocket open, prevent scar tissue from forming, and reduce the risk of implant hardening. You should start massaging your breasts a few days after surgery and continue for at least three to six months. Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions on how to massage your breasts correctly.
Regular exercise can help to prevent capsular contracture by improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation. However, it would help if you avoid any strenuous activities or exercises that put pressure on your chest muscles for at least six weeks after surgery. Start with light exercises such as walking or stretching and gradually increase the intensity. Listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience pain or discomfort.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for overall well-being and can also aid in preventing capsular contracture. A diet abundant in vitamins and minerals can enhance your immune system and decrease inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of developing capsular contracture. Here are a few suggestions for consuming a healthy diet:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Choose lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, and tofu
- Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks
- Drink plenty of water
Nicotine can increase your risk of capsular contracture, so avoiding smoking and other forms of nicotine is essential. Nicotine can cause your blood vessels to constrict, which can reduce blood flow to your breast tissue. This can make it harder for your body to fight off infections and can increase your risk of capsular contracture.
Antibiotics can be used to reduce the risk of infection, which can lead to capsular contracture. If you are at a higher risk of developing an infection, your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics before and after your surgery. It's important to follow your surgeon's instructions carefully and take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation that contributes to capsular contracture. Your surgeon may recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin after surgery to help reduce inflammation. However, talking to your surgeon before taking any medication is essential, as some can increase the risk of bleeding or other complications.
Why Choose Dr. Andres in Scottsdale?
Dr. Lewis Albert Andres, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, has been honored as a Top Doc for several years in Scottsdale. Working closely with Dr. Andres can help reduce your risk of capsular contracture and increase your chances of long-term success after breast augmentation surgery.