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Capsular Contracture

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  • NY SportsMed is a leader in the treatment of complications arising from breast implant surgery, including one of the most common, capsular contracture.  This condition occurs when the lining of tissue, or the “capsule”, that naturally forms by the body around breast implants begins to tighten, causing firmness, distortion of shape or modification of position to the breast implant.  Although a somewhat rare occurrence, when capsular contracture does occur, it can be uncomfortable, unsightly and painful, and it can make women feel very self conscious about seeking additional treatment.

    Up until fairly recently, the only treatment for capsular contracture was surgical revision.  This entailed its own set of complications, as well as the chance that the capsule surrounding the implant could again become constricted.  Non-surgical techniques, involving a combination of massage, stretching and exercises administered by our trained physical therapists, have offered great success in reducing or eliminating the effects of capsular contracture.

    The trained physical therapists at NY SportsMed are among a select few that treat capsular contracture and other complications arising from breast augmentation surgery.  At NY SportsMed, we are sensitive to the issues surrounding breast implant complications.  Only highly trained female physical therapists perform capsular contracture treatment, and they do so in a discreet and caring manner, with a focus towards making each patient feel comfortable and at ease with their treatment.


    Capsular Contracture and Breast Implant Complications

    What is Capsular Contracture?

    Capsular contracture is one of the most common complications that arise following breast augmentation surgery.  When breast implants are placed within the body, a natural “capsule” or lining made of fibrous tissue is formed around them.  This is a natural response within the body to a foreign object and typically creates no problems.  However, sometimes the tissue capsule begins to tighten, or constrict, squeezing the implant within it.  When this happens, it can distort the shape of the breast, make it feel hard or firm, modify the position of the implant, and can cause discomfort.

    What causes Capsular Contracture?

    It is still unknown why some people are affected by capsular contracture following breast implant surgery and others are not.  There are some factors that may make you more susceptible to suffering from capsular contracture, including infection, hematomas, seroma, smoking and germ contamination.

    What are the symptoms of Capsular Contracture?

    The primary symptoms of capsular contracture are a gradual firming of the area around the breast implants, leading to a distortion in the shape or position of the breast implant.  In more severe cases, the implant will feel hard and there will be noticeable distortion of the breast’s shape.  Pain and swelling can accompany these symptoms.

    How is Capsular Contracture diagnosed?

    If you are having complications following breast implant surgery, your surgeon can evaluate whether you are experiencing capsular contracture due to a tightening of the lining surrounding the implant.  This can be diagnosed based on a visual and manual examination, as well as an explanation of symptoms.


    When should I seek care for Capsular Contracture?

    Capsular contracture most commonly occurs within the first few months following breast augmentation surgery.  If you believe that you are suffering from capsular contracture, or any other type of complication due to breast implant surgery, it is best to seek the advice of your surgeon.  In many cases, physical therapy can alleviate the problems without further medical procedures needed, if begun at an early stage.


    What will the treatment for Capsular Contracture consist of?

    Treatment for capsular contracture includes a combination of massage, stretching and exercises.  Patient education is also a part of the treatment and will consist of information on the proper use of compression bandages, if necessary, as well as stretching exercises to keep the implant from hardening and to keep it in its proper position.


    Which muscle groups/joints are commonly affected by Capsular Contracture?

    Capsular contracture affects the natural lining or pocket that forms around breast implants during breast augmentation surgery.  Implants can also affect the lower back and posture, as your body adjusts to different weight distribution.  We will help you learn posture techniques as well as help strengthen your back to prevent or alleviate back pain.


    What type of results should I expect from the treatment of Capsular Contracture?

    With early intervention, physical therapy can often successfully improve capsular contracture.  If however, treatment is delayed and constriction of the lining has been allowed to progress further, physical therapy may be less effective and surgical revision may be required.


    What do I need to bring to my Physical Therapy session?

    Our female physical therapists require a prescription from your surgeon in order to treat capsular contracture.  For additional questions about our capsular contracture treatment, please call 212-750-1110.

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