Scar tissue naturally develops around each breast implant about two months after breast augmentation surgery is performed. When the scar tissue becomes infected or inflamed, a capsulectomy, which is the complete removal of the “capsule” of scar tissue, may be needed before new implants are placed. Also referred to as explant surgery, partial or total capsulectomy may or may not be required during breast implant removal.
If there is hardened capsule causing deformity of the breast (capsular contracture), the final result is relief from pain or discomfort as well as improvement in the breast appearance.
Why Would I Consider a Capsulectomy?
- Capsular contracture
- Breast implants removed but not replaced
- New implants placed in a new position
- Smaller implants replaced with larger implants
- Calcified capsules
- Ruptured implants
- Tumor development next to the capsule
When Is Capsulectomy Performed?
Capsulectomy is a secondary breast enhancement surgery performed after initial breast augmentation to minimize pain, discomfort, and complications associated with scar tissue formation. This technique is commonly performed prior to breast revision procedures (when the implant is replaced or resized with a larger or smaller implant), breast implant removal (without replacement), or another breast enhancement surgery.
Will I Need Capsulectomy Surgery?
The decision for a complete capsulectomy will depend on your particular case and your physical anatomy. Sometimes the capsule can be left in the body. When the capsule itself is infected or can otherwise cause potential harm to the body, it must be removed. If the patient has health issues as a result of breast implants, healing is more difficult or will take longer if the capsule is not completely removed.
What Are My Capsulectomy Options?
A partial capsulectomy (subtotal capsulectomy) is performed to loosen the scar tissue. Here, only pieces of the scar tissue are removed. This is the least invasive capsulectomy option and often results in a smaller scar.
Total capsulectomy removes the entire scar tissue capsule as well as the implant, often in a few pieces. Here, the implant is usually removed first, followed by the scar tissue. The implant is usually replaced if the patient desires.
En Bloc Capsulectomy
En bloc capsulectomy removes all the scar tissue and implant in one piece. This technique requires the largest incision (because the tissue and implant are removed together) and often requires a longer healing period.
A benefit of en bloc capsulectomy is that any ruptured implant material will remain trapped inside that capsule because everything is removed together.
How Is Capsulectomy Performed?
Capsulectomy is performed under general anesthesia.
Your surgeon will make an incision on your breast to gain access to the scar tissue and implant. This incision is usually along the inframammary fold (breast crease). Since many women use this incision option for breast augmentation, the same incision will be used. This will minimize scarring.
From here, part or all of the scar tissue will be removed along with the implant. Patients will then have the choice of replacing their implant (with the same size or a different size) or closing and tightening the capsule without a new implant.
In cases of breast implant removal without replacement, a breast lift is commonly recommended to help tighten the breast tissue (which has been stretched by the implant). This surgical technique will remove excess skin and lift the breasts to a higher, perkier position on the chest.
What Is Recovery Like After Capsulectomy?
The initial recovery period is about two weeks, and patients can usually schedule implant replacement surgery once they heal. Patients are usually back to their normal activities after three weeks.
Is Capsulectomy Painful?
Capsulectomy is performed under general anesthesia, and patients will not experience any pain during the surgery itself. You can expect to experience some pain and discomfort once the anesthesia wears off and in the days that follow. Bruising and swelling are also expected. Patients can alleviate this discomfort with prescribed or over-the-counter pain medications.
What Are the Risks of Capsulectomy?
There is a slight risk of infection, fluid collection, and deformity of the breast. In patients who are very thin, removing the capsule after removing the implant may leave minimal tissue behind, which can create redundant or sagging skin. In rare cases, removing the capsule may also inhibit the blood supply to the remaining skin.
Is It Possible to Experience Capsule Problems Again?
Unfortunately, if an implant is replaced, there is a chance that you can experience additional problems with the scar tissue. This is not always the case, though.
How Much Is Capsulectomy in Orange County?
Capsulectomy cost varies by patient and depends on the type of capsulectomy being performed and all other techniques used. Additional fees include anesthesia fees, facility fees, and surgeon’s fees.
You will be given an accurate cost estimate during your consultation. Even though it is performed to correct a complication, capsulectomy is considered elective and not covered by insurance. We offer several financing options to help.
Interested in Learning More About Capsulectomy and Breast Enhancement in Orange County?
If you are interested in breast revision surgery with Dr. Allen M. Doezie, please schedule a consultation by calling 949.481.9850 or by filling out our online contact form. Dr. Doezie offers capsulectomy and other breast revision and enhancement procedures in Ladera Ranch and Newport Beach, California.