Capsular contracture is a condition by which post-augmentation breasts become hardened or deformed as a result of scar tissue buildup around an implant. To date it is the most common side effect of breast augmentation surgery, occurring in some 15 to 20 percent of cases and in varying levels of severity worldwide. While it can theoretically develop at any time after surgery, the condition tends to develop some time within the first several months post-operation. The causes of this condition are as yet not specifically known, but some risk factors have been identified. These potential risk factors are as listed below:
− It seems to occur after an infection of some kind. While every surgical procedure does carry some modicum of infection risk, this can and is often fastidiously avoided by practicing physicians with clean workspaces and equipment. In this sense, the variable becomes the patient’s over-all health before and after the procedure takes place.
− If a seroma develops after the surgery, the risk of the condition is increased. Seromas are pockets of clear fluid that sometimes develop after various forms of invasive procedure
− Germ contamination of the implant tends to increase the risks of the condition. This can again be entirely avoided: so long as the physician who carries out the procedure and the facility that houses it follow all known health regulations, germ contamination shouldn’t be an issue at all.
− Hematomas, or localized pooling of blood outside of the blood vessel, can sometimes elicit further inflammation of the area around the implant, thereby increasing the risk of contracture.
− Patients who smoke have an increased risk of developing the contracture. This is because smoking tends to constrict oxygen levels in every part of the body, slowing the healing process and thereby allowing for an increase of scar tissue development.
Given the relative frequency of some grade of the condition or another, any qualified plastic surgeon will be well aware of risks and appropriate treatments, for this condition should it arise after your breast augmentation. If considering a breast augmentation, you should be aware of this during a consultation and feel free to assess whether your potential physician’s knowledge of these risk factors and their consequent knowledge of appropriate treatments are of a quality with which you feel comfortable.
Speaking of comfort, please also be aware that, given the sometimes questionable motives of people who purport to be expert on cosmetic surgery, the severity of the risks listed above will often be significantly downplayed by less scrupulous people. Two of the three treatments for capsular contracture are surgical procedures, and implants manufacturers are not recommending non-surgical procedure because it runs the risk of rupturing the implant itself. This means that the chances for corrective surgery for the condition, depending on its severity, is higher than not. Any potential patient should be very conscientious in choosing a physician for the procedure, as an initial augmentation has a chance of resulting in corrective procedures in the future.
“As always, it is strongly suggested that any candidate for an augmentation assesses the risks and benefits of the procedure before deciding to have one, as well as being very conscientious in choosing a qualified, knowledgeable physician to perform it,” said Dr.Sompob Sansiri.
There are risks and benefits to any sort of cosmetic procedure, all of which should be known and considered by both the attending physician and the potential patient before going forward. A qualified physician already knows the risks and benefits of a procedure on a general level, and a good one will assess each individual case based on the potential patient. The potential patient should also be prepared with any individual questions or concerns throughout the consultation process.
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