Once a breast implant is in place, fibrous scar tissue forms around it, creating a tissue capsule. This is a normal process as the body forms a protective capsule like this around any object it recognises as foreign. The tissue capsule is usually soft or slightly firm and not noticeable, and it serves a role in keeping the implant in place.
However, in some women a tissue capsule forms that is unusually hard and dense. The capsule tightens and in doing so it squeezes the implant. This condition is called ‘capsular contracture’, and it can cause chronic pain and distortion in the shape of the breast. It will also usually make the breast rise higher on the chest.
It you have had radiation therapy, after your breast implant is already in place, this can greatly increase your risk of developing capsular contracture. Other factors that may increase risk include an implant rupture, an infection, or a genetic predisposition to forming scars.
At NBBC our breast care osteopath cares for capsular contraction patients to soften and release the tissue around the capsule, resulting in a reduction in pain, restriction or discomfort it may create. If the contracture is significant, it may require revision surgery to release the capsule, and so all cases are monitored closely by your surgical oncologist.