Breast capsulectomy surgery

A list of commonly asked questions about breast capsulectomy surgery.

What is ‘breast capsulectomy’ surgery?

This is the name given to the surgical procedure to remove capsules which have formed around breast implants. These capsules can thicken and so squeeze the implants which will distort the appearance of the breasts. There is also the risk of them causing the implant to break which is more of an issue with thicker capsules or those that contain muscle cells.

This surgery can be done on one of both breasts and depends on the position of the capsule and the level of irritation caused by its presence.

It is also known as ‘full implant capsule removal’.

What are these ‘capsules’ and why do they form?

Your body uses its natural defences to deal with what it sees as ‘alien invasions’. For example, if you contract an illness then your body’s immune system kicks in and enlists the help of a variety of mechanisms to fight this illness. It also employs this response if a foreign body is present.

If you have had breast augmentation surgery then silicone implants will have been used to enlarge the size of the breasts. However, the body sees these implants as a ‘foreign invader’ and will ‘fight’ them by forming a thick barrier of scar tissue or a ‘capsule’ around each implant. Your body sees this as its way of protecting you and preventing the implant from harming the surrounding tissue.

Your body employs this mechanism with other foreign bodies such as heart pacemakers, hip replacement and screws and plates for broken bones.

These capsules can vary in thickness and size from patient to patient, and even between the left and right breasts.

Capsules form every time breast implants are used. They are not normally a problem but occasionally, they can cause a problem. It was much more of a problem five to ten years ago but due to medical advances are a lot less common than they used to be.

Bacterial contamination and haematoma can also cause this problem. Smoking, infection and ‘sub glandular’ placement of the implant are other factors.

Part or the entire capsule is removed. The implant itself is reinserted into the pocket or is replaced with a new one.

In the original breast augmentation surgery the implants will have been inserted via a ‘pocket’. In this procedure the surgeon may have to make a new pocket and/or change the size or type of implant.

Breast capsulectomy surgery is an ‘open’ procedure. By that we mean it is where the surgeon will cut through the scar tissue, which opens up the capsule, to remove the breast implant. This is much preferred over the older ‘closed’ procedure in which surgeons used to squeeze the implant to break open the scar tissue. Apart from being painful there was the risk of the implant rupturing.

There are two types of surgery: total and subtotal breast capsulectomy.

Breast capsulectomy surgery Guide Index:



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