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What Causes Encapsulation of Breast Implants?

What Causes Encapsulation of Breast Implants?

Doctor Answers (4)

What Causes Encapsulation of Breast Implants? CAPSULES ARE NORMAL, Contractures are NOT

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What Causes Encapsulation of Breast Implants? Any implanted sugcutaneous object creates a foreign body response. In the case of non-resorbable implants, this result in the formation of a coccoon-like fibrous tissue capsule. THIS IS NORMAL. For some reason and in certain cases, the capsule will start to contract causing deformity, constriction, pain and distortion of softer flexible implants. This is ABNORMAL and currently attributable ot hematoma and biofilm formation.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Implant encapsulation

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The body forms a natural barrier to implants and all become encapsulated.  Some get tight and no one knows ffor sure why this happens.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Cause of Breast Implant Encapsulation

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There is a huge difference between a CAPSULE and a CAPSULAR CONTRACTURE.

EVERY foreign body placed in our bodies (artificial joints, heart valves, shunts, artificial blood vessels, ports, Lap Bands, bullets, shrapnel and breast implants) become covered and walled off with fine scar tissue also called a capsule. This is the body's way of walling these items off.

In some cases the scar process does not stop and a lot of scar becomes deposited which constricts and chokes on the implant within it. That is referred to as a CONTRACTURE.

There are many recognized potential causes which may trigger a capsular contracture. Among them :
- Blood (It has long been recognized that bluntly separating tissues instead of carefully dividing them with a cautery results in more bleeding and subsequent contracture).
- Foreign Bodies (fragments of gowns, glove powder, gauze etc)
- Infection (any seeding of the implants with bacteria at the time of surgery or years later from a dental procedure or a urinary tract infection for example)
- external radiation

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

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Breast Implants and Scar Capsule

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Every foreign device that is implanted in your body, whether it is a knee joint, pacemaker, or breast implant, gets a smooth, thin layer of sca tissue around it. This is your bodies way of reacting to the foreign device.  It forms a pocket around the device, essentially walling it of from the rest of the body.  Why some women get very firm and hard capsules around their implants is still debatable, but most surgeons feel it is from two things - trauma and bleeding during/after the surgery and the natural bacteria of the body.  This is why the goal is always to perform the surgery as atraumatically as possible, as well as kill off any of the bacteria in the area, both with antibiotics in your system and in the pocket itself.  I hope this helps.

Christopher V. Pelletiere, MD
Barrington Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.