Capsular Contraction 1 Year Later?

Exactly a year to the date of my surgery my right breast became tight, hard to the touch and very round aa opposed to the natural look and feel they had after surgery. After getting a aobigram it was determined it was CC, and should consult w/my P. Surgeon, i did n he said it happens n to wait it out and take vitamin E to see if it goes away n than see, as it st ill was cld happen again if repaired. Is there anyway to get the breast soft and natural feeling again w/o surgery?

Doctor Answers 7

Is There A Non-Surgical Approach To Capsular Contracture?

Thank you for this thought provoking question.  Accolate is an asthma medication, now generic, which has worked in the past to decrease capsular constracture.  Laurie Casas, M.D. did a 42 patient study showing that Accolate, when used on capsular contractures within the first 6 months after surgery with implants in the subpectoral space, decreased the firmness.  My own experience when using Accolate plus ultrasound (the kind physical therapists use for sore muscles) has shown improvement, and sometimes, complete cures of some capsular contractures.  

I recommend you discuss this possible contracture treatment with your personal plastic surgeon. 

Capsular Contracture: An Overview for Patients

Capsular contracture refers to scar tissue which can form around breast implants making the breasts feel firm or creating shape changes in the breasts.  The exact causes are unclear, but appear to be related to inflammation and the formation of a thick collagen lining around the breast implants.   We do know that low levels of bacteria can initiate scar tissue, as can blood from surgery, and other irritating factors.


Most capsular contractures occur either early (first year) or late (after many years).  My impression is that a capsular contracture occuring after a year is likely related to a bacterial cause, either a low level of bacteria which contacted the implant at insertion and many months later have initiated inflammation, or perhaps bacteria which have contaminated the implants from the bloodstream.


If caught early, medications such as Singulair and Accolate, as well as massage, may be useful to treat capsular contracture.   Other treatments, and of course surgery, may also be effective.

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Capsular contracture

A capsular contracture if present will not get better on its own.  Commonly patients undergo surgical excision to improve this problem.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

The Incidence Of Capsular Contracture After Primary And Revision Breast Augmentation

Capsular contracture is a risk for anyone who has breast augmentation or reconstruction with implants. It unfortunately occurs more frequently than we would like it to. It can occur early or late after surgery, with saline or silicone implants, in subpectoral or subglandular placement, and in one breast or both. Capsular contracture is probably caused by some excessive scarring; the etiology of the scarring may be unknown, but subclinical infection and long-term failed silicone gel implants probably lead to capsular contracture as well. There is no specific way to prevent it, but measures taken during surgery to reduce scarring and infection may help. Capsular contracture is graded using the Baker classification: I (normal breast) thru IV (severe contracture). Grades III and IV usually require surgical correction.

Allergan’s Core Study followed 455 women following their primary silicone gel-filled breast augmentation. At 7 years post-op (follow-up 74%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 15.5%. At 10 years post-op (follow-up 59%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 19.1%.

The Allergan Core Study also enrolled 147 revision-augmentation patients. At 7 years post-op (follow-up 72%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 20.4%. At 10 years post-op (follow-up 50%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 27.5%.

Mentor’s Core Study followed 552 women following their primary silicone gel-filled breast augmentation. At 3 years post-op (follow-up 67%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 8.1%.  At 8 years post-op (follow-up 52%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 10.9%.

The Mentor Core Study also enrolled 145 revision-augmentation patients. At 3 years post-op (follow-up 79%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 18.9%.   At 8 years post-op (follow-up 53%) the incidence for capsular contracture (Baker III/IV) was 24.1%.

The reason Allergan has 10 year data and Mentor does not is because Allergan began enrolling patients about one and one-half years earlier.

As you can see, the risk of capsular contracture is higher in revision-augmentation patients. If you ask many surgeons (me included) what the incidence of capsular contracture is in their practice they would probably state numbers much lower than this. Our (speaking for the collective group of surgeons) top of mind recollection of complications and re-operations is not always very accurate…but the numbers, are the numbers. Unless a surgeon has specifically studied the details of his or her practice, and has good patient follow-up, the Core study numbers are the ones that should be used when speaking with patients.

So the bottom line is that your capsular contracture is not unlike others, and can be improved/corrected with surgery. A thoughtful approach to capsular contracture may be helpful in reducing recurrence yet again, but there are no guarantees.

Best wishes, Ken Dembny

Kenneth Dembny, II, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Capsular contracture a year later

Yours is the typical story of capsular contracture as a well placed implant starts out soft, and over the first year or two the implant begins to round up and become firm. Short of surgery little else will soften the implant again and yes, even after revision it can happen again.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Capsule contracture

The chances of capsule contracture resolving spontaneously decrease the longer out from surgery this has occurred.  You will likely need surgery, but capsule contracture can recur even if you have all the scar removed and a new Implant placed.  An ADM may significantly decrease the chance of contracture recurrence, but is costly...discuss these options with your surgeon.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Capsular contractures need surgery if they are very hard

Hard capsular contractures need surgery for correction with the scar removed and new implant placed.  No medications will fix this.  There are a few anecdotal reports of improvements with some medications but they may have toxicity that you don't want.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 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.