Capsular Contracture Surgery

Q. The breast implants I had placed ten years ago are too firm and hard now and are starting to become painful. My friend mentioned that I may have a capsular contracture. Do I need surgery?

A. It's very likely, yes. When any foreign object is placed in the body, the body forms a lining, or capsule, around it. In some patients and under certain circumstances the capsule that forms can thicken and contract aggressively. When this capsular contracture occurs around a soft breast implant, the breast may change contour and become firm. Capsular contracture can occur at any time after breast augmentation. When the capsular contracture causes the breast to become firm, painful, or interfere with mammography, the breast capsule should be removed.

Q. If I have capsular contracture surgery, can I have my breast implants replaced as well?

A. Yes! Many women who have their breast capsules removed also opt to have their implants exchanged at the same time. Frequently women may have had their implants for a significant period of time and wish to upsize, downsize, change profile, or implant type (i.e. saline for silicone).

Q. What is the recovery time like for capsular contracture surgery?

A.The recovery period after capsular contracture surgery may be longer than for a primary breast augmentation procedure as the surgery may be more extensive. It is also important that patients do no exert themselves significantly following the procedure as that may increase their risk for hematoma and repeat capsule formation.

Q. Will I need to have drains?

A. Drains may be used following the surgery depending on the amount of surgery required, change in implant size, change in implant plane, and surgeon preference.

capsular contracture pictures

In some women who have waviness, rippling, synmastia, or fold malposition we use Strattice as an extra layer or as a check ligament to hold the implants in place.

In these patients I typically use drains to prevent the accumulation of fluid between the implant and the Strattice. I traditionally like to use small diameter round drains which in my experience tend to hurt less when they are removed. 

Q. Is there anything I can do to prevent capsular contracture from happening?

A. Plastic surgeons in the United States and in foreign countries are studying the causes of capsular contracture and ways in which to prevent it. It is important to listen to your physician post-operatively and follow their recommendations to ensure best results.


The Procedure: Typically, when we perform capsular contracture surgery, the same or a new incision is used to remove the capsule and the breast implants. Occasionally, a simultaneous lift is performed and a new incision is placed on the breast.

The surgical pocket has already been created from the previous surgery and pain is often less than that of their first surgery. If there is a change of plane of the implant from subglandular to submuscular there may be some discomfort, but this can be controlled with pain medication.

If the implant is in the submuscular position, and there is a change to subglandular, then sutures are used to reconstruct the pectoralis muscles. Again, any discomfort from the surgery can be controlled with pain medications.

The Recovery: Capsular contracture surgery is often requested by many women in Newport Beach. Capsular contracture and implant replacement surgery is usually more extensive than primary breast augmentation. While post-operative pain may be managed, women can be back to light work within a matter of days. Strenuous physical activity is not recommended for 4-6 weeks following this surgery.

Dr. Dickinson is available to perform these surgeries in the Newport Beach plastic surgery center for the your convenience. Dr. Dickinson is committed to having happy patients. He never stops working to ensure you are completely satisfied with the results.


Call Dr. Dickinson's office to schedule your initial consultation. Share your goals with Dr. Dickinson so that he can suggest the appropriate procedure. Once you've mad up your mind to proceed you'll schedule a pre-op appointment and surgery date. Following the procedure Dr. Dickinson will monitor your healing with proactive follow-up appointments.
capsular contracture breast implant surgery
Newport Beach Office
351 Hospital Road
Suite 305
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Tel: (949) 612-8632
Wednesdays: 9am to 4pm
Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.