Breast Implant Contracture

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Breast implant contracture occurs when the “capsule” or shell that the body forms naturally around the implant becomes thicker and tighter making the breast feel firm or hard. There is not one definitive cause for contractures so they are difficult to eliminate as a potential problem after breast implant surgery.

Patients may notice displacement of their implants and a change in the position or appearance of the implants, which results in asymmetry.

This is because contractures occur more frequently on one side as opposed to both. Contractures are not dangerous to a patient but may become tight enough to cause discomfort.If the contracture is very tight, then it also may cause wrinkling of the implant, which can increase the chance of a crease flaw and lead to implant rupture.

Fortunately, there are many things surgeons can do to decrease the chance of contractures and we are learning more about contracture development all the time. In my office, every effort is made in surgery to decrease the incidence for the known causes of contractures.These include elimination of bacteria or other irritants that would cause an increase response to healing around the implants. Minimizing any bleeding during surgery as well as antibiotics and breast massage after surgery are also felt to have an impact on the formation of contractures.

If any firmness of the implant is noted after the surgery, several medications can be added to arrest or prevent the further development of the contracture.We also routinely perform external ultrasound to help prevent or treat contractures,and patients are encouraged to take an antibiotic prior to any dental work, including teeth cleanings, or surgery for at least the first 6 months after the implants are placed.

This breast augmentation patient developed a contracture which caused her left implant to become more firm and move toward the midline.Dr. Short reshaped both pockets to move the nipples more centrally on the breast and changed her implants from saline to silicone.This gave her a much softer feel and a much nicer breast shape.