What is a Capsulectomy?
All breast implants will have a capsule formed around them in the breast after breast implant surgery or breast augmentation. This happens because the body sees the implant as a foreign body and “quarantines” it by generating scar tissue. When the capsule of scar tissue forms, it can be thin and flimsy, and this is what occurs for most women with implants. However, in rare cases, the capsule can become firm and thick and develop what is known as capsular contracture. A breast implant that has capsular contracture can be painful and hard, and lead to displacement of the implant. While capsular contracture is not dangerous in and of itself, breast pain and malposition can lead women to have breast implant removal. Surgical removal of the capsule is known as a capsulectomy.
Additionally, a capsulectomy can also be performed when a patient experiences breast implant illness. The symptoms include joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, and memory and concentration problems.
Capsulectomies can be performed in different ways. A traditional capsulectomy usually involves removing the breast implants and then separately removing the capsule that has formed around the implant. This is the most common approach. Another option is a partial capsulectomy where the implant is removed along with a portion of the implant capsule. An en bloc capsulectomy removes the breast implant and the capsule in one piece. The en bloc technique requires a larger incision for removal. After the capsule is removed, a drain is typically placed to manage any fluid that occurs from removing the capsule.
After the implant and tissue have been removed, you’ll have several options. You can choose to have the implants replaced. In this case, new implants can be put in the pocket where the capsule was removed, or placed in a different pocket location. You can also leave the implant out completely after removal. At times, complete removal can leave the natural breast tissue deflated and flat. In this case, a breast lift or mastopexy may be able to reposition the breast or the natural breast can be reinflated with fat grafting. Fat grafting involves removing fat from another location on the body with liposuction and then processing and purifying the tissue for injection into the treatment area. Sometimes, a combination of both of these techniques can be used.
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Recovery & Results
Your recovery from a capsulectomy procedure will depend on factors like whether your implants were replaced or removed, as well as whether you opt for fat transfer. Whatever your unique surgical plan, Dr. Timothy Janiga will go over what to expect during your recovery. Generally, patients require one or two weeks away from their regular schedule to rest and recover. You’ll wear a surgical bra during this time to support the breasts and reduce the risks of capsular contracture reoccurring. You’ll also be prescribed medications to manage swelling and discomfort. Overall, it can take a month or longer for your final results to emerge.
Frequently Asked Questions about Capsulectomy
Are there different types of capsulectomies?
Yes. There is a traditional capsulectomy, partial capsulectomy, and an en bloc capsulectomy. The traditional method involves removing the implant and the capsule surrounding the implant. The partial method includes removing the implant and only a portion of the capsule. The en bloc procedure involves removing the implant and the capsule all in one piece.
How long is the recovery period after a capsulectomy?
Most people are back to work in one to two weeks, but the areas can be sore for a month or so after.
Who is a good candidate for a capsulectomy?
A good candidate for a capsulectomy is a non smoker in good health who is experiencing capsular contracture or pain with their implants.
How long does a capsulectomy take?
The whole procedure takes anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the complexity of the surgery and the type of capsulectomy.
How should I prepare for a capsulectomy?
Before a capsulectomy, you’ll want to quit smoking if you’re a smoker and stop taking blood-thinning medication. You’ll also want to plan to have a friend or family member drive you to and from surgery and look after you for the first 24 hours or more. A few days before the procedure, fill prescriptions and plan for anything you’ll need after surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
If you experienced complications after your breast augmentation procedure, it’s important to partner with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can perform an effective capsulectomy and achieve your intended results. To get started, contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form and meet with Dr. Janiga to discuss your options.