Capsular contracture after Breast Enlargement – what is it, and what can you do about it?

Aurora Clinics; picture showing breast implantsThere’s plenty to think about before Breast Enlargement, but there are things to be aware of after surgery too. One to look out for is hard, painful breasts which could be a sign of capsular contracture. Read on for more…

What is capsular contracture?

Breast implants, however sterile, are foreign bodies. There’s no getting away from it.

And your body, quite rightly, is obsessed with keeping itself safe. So when implants make a sudden appearance, it sees them as a threat. Silicone invaders that are out to wreak havoc!

This is completely normal, and happens every time a woman has breast enlargement. Her body decides to contain the threat by forming a protective shell of scar tissue around the implants.

In most cases, this causes no long-term problems. Massage helps to break down the scar tissue, leaving soft, natural breasts. But occasionally, it becomes more of an issue.

Scar tissue capsules all shrink naturally over time – but in some women it can be dramatic.

Their capsules contract so much that they squeeze the implants, making their breasts unnaturally hard, and distorting their shape. It can also make the breasts very painful.

How can you tell if you’ve got it?

The number of women affected by capsular contracture is fairly small – about 5% of women who undergo enlargement. And 75% of cases appear within two years of receiving implants. So the chances are, if you’ve had your implants longer than that, you’re probably fine.

But it pays to keep a close eye on your breasts in the first few months after your surgery. Most cases occur three to four months after breast enlargement, so that’s the time to be extra vigilant.

The symptoms of capsular contracture appear slowly. You might first notice your breasts sitting unnaturally high, and becoming misshapen. Sometimes, breasts can start to look overly round and ball-like (the ‘bolted-on’ look often seen on glamour models).

They’ll probably get progressively more firm, and you might experience an uncomfortable tightness or even pain, particularly when you lay on your front. You may also see visible rippling under your skin where the implant is being squeezed.

How is capsular contracture treated?

Though it’s disheartening to see and feel your breasts change, especially if you’d fallen in love with your new look, the good news is that capsular contracture can be corrected.

Depending on your individual circumstances, it’s treated with either a capsulectomy (known as ‘full implant capsule removal’), or the slightly less invasive capsulotomy.

A breast capsulectomy involves completely removing the thick pocket of scar tissue and replacing the breast implant. A capsulotomy instead focuses on ‘freeing up’ the scar tissue to make the pocket less constricted before replacing the implant.

Whichever approach is used, it’s important for your surgeon to exercise careful judgement to make sure you get a good aesthetic result. The capsule exerts a huge influence on the overall appearance of the breast, so whether the scar tissue is being removed or reshaped, it will affect the shape of your breasts.

This is one of the reasons why you need to choose your breast surgeon carefully. They need to have had plenty of experience performing not only routine breast enlargements but also breast enlargement revision surgery.

You want that extra reassurance that if needed, they’re competent enough to deal with any problems with breast implants that may arise.

Find out more about capsular contracture

At Aurora Clinics, we have a number of highly experienced specialist breast surgeons who regularly perform breast capsulectomy surgery for women with capsular contracture. If you feel you may have a problem with your implants and would like expert, impartial advice, please dont hesitate to call 01324 578290 or email

Categories:  Breast