Capsulectomy – Overview
Capsulectomy is the surgical removal of tissue capsule, i.e fibrous scar tissue which forms around the breast implant.
The capsule is composed of fibroblasts, collagen, and blood vessels. Capsular contracture is the immune system’s protective response against the presence of a foreign object, which leads to the problem.
The formation of a capsule is normal, yet when it becomes thick or contracts, it squeezes the implant, causing it to become distorted and painful.
Capsular contracture is the most common complication of breast augmentation procedures.
There are several levels of capsular contracture that are categorized into stages based on the Baker Classification Scale and the need for capsulectomy depends on the level of capsular contracture.
These stages include:
Grade I — the breast is normally soft and appears natural in size and shape
Grade II — the breast is a little firm, but appears normal
Grade III — the breast is firm and appears abnormal
Grade IV — the breast is hard, painful to the touch, and appears abnormal
For people experiencing Grade III or Grade IV capsular contracture, surgical treatment to remove the capsule of scar tissue surrounding the breast implant is often recommended.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia which implies the patient will be asleep during the operation.
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 capsulectomy namely; total capsulectomy and subtotal capsulectomy.
Total Capsulectomy – This involves the removal of the breast implant and the entire capsule of scar tissue. The implant may be replaced once the capsule is removed.
Subtotal Capsulectomy – A subtotal or partial capsulectomy only removes part of the capsule.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications with capsulectomy. These include bleeding, infection, hematoma, nerve injury, breast asymmetry and the Capsular contracture could re-occur
At first, the surgical incisions will be visible, however, it fades with time. The surgical scars of capsulectomy heal at 6 weeks post-operative, and fade within several months, depending on the skin type of the woman
The woman may resume her normal life activities about a week after the operation. The patient may also be given medications such as pain pills to reduce pain and also antibiotics to prevent infections.
The total cost for capsulectomy surgery depends on a lot of factors such as the anesthetic fee, private hospital fee, private operating facility fee, and extent of surgery required. The total cost of the procedure is around $5500 – $9500.
More: Breast Implant Cost