Capsular Contracture of Breast Implants

Photos of Breast Implant Capsules - Capsular Contracture

Capsular Contracture

The top left photo shows an implant removed with the capsule still around it. The top right photo is similar, with a portion of the implant protruding out of the capsule. The bottom left photo shows how the capsule looks almost like a "pocket" formed by the body to contain the implant. The bottom right photo shows another capsule that has been removed.

NOTE: The capsule is the living tissue lining that normally forms around every breast implant. In some women, for reasons that are incompletely understood, the capsule has a tendency to shrink, which we refer to as capsular contracture. The more it shrinks the more it compresses the implant, making the breast feel hard. The implant itself does not get hard no matter how firm the breast may feel -- it is the way that the implant interacts with the body that causes capsular contractureCapsular contracture does not cause implants to rupture because pressure is being evenly exerted on all sides of the implant. Under these conditions the implant will take the shape which has the least surface area, a round sphere, like a ball or globe. Not all capsules look as thick as the ones in these photos; some are as thin and filmy as gossamer. It is because of the fact that these capsules were thick that allowed these representative photos to be taken. See next set of photos for more details.

Capsular Contracture

The picture on the left shows an implant that was removed along with the surrounding capsule, because of capsular contracture and a desire by the patient to switch to saline implants.

In the picture on the right, compare the same implant within its capsule to the implant from the opposite breast which was removed separately from its capsule. Notice that the implant in the capsule looks smaller than the implant from the other side although they are the same size. When the capsule contracts it does so with great force, compressing the implant into a tight ball. Once again, the implant itself does not get hard. It is the way the implant interacts with the capsule that can make the breast feel hard.

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