Virtual Appointments - Now Available!

Learn More

How Do You Know If Your Breast Implant is Encapsulated?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


If you’ve started doing your research on breast augmentation, you may be familiar with some of the potential risks associated with breast implants. With an extremely low complication rate, breast augmentation is widely considered a safe and appropriate procedure, though there is a possibility that a complication may occur. One of the more well-known breast implant complications is capsular contracture. While this can be a serious condition if left untreated, it is nearly always correctable with surgery – and sometimes even without. Use this helpful information from internationally recognized board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi and the team at VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, NV to get a better understanding of capsular contracture, including what it is and what symptoms to keep an eye out for.

What is capsular contracture?

Capsular contracture, also known as encapsulation, is a complication of breast augmentation during which the scar tissue forms a tight, constricting capsule around a breast implant. Developing scar tissue is a natural and expected response to having any foreign body implanted, but capsular contracture occurs when the scar tissue becomes too tight and begins to squeeze the implant.

What causes capsular contracture?

Breast implant encapsulation can occur in any patient, with or without an obvious reason. In fact, the precise cause of capsular contracture is not entirely understood. Some of the most common potential causes of capsular contracture include:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Trauma
  • Hematoma
  • Implant is too large
  • No discrete cause

What are the symptoms of capsular contracture?

Even though capsular contracture occurs in only a very small percentage of breast augmentation patients, it is still important to be aware of the signs that you may have a potential problem. Common signs and symptoms of an encapsulated breast implant include:

  • Firmness to the touch
  • Hardness to the touch
  • Misshapen breast
  • Implant sitting higher than normal
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Pain or discomfort

When does capsular contracture happen?

In the vast majority of capsular contracture cases, it begins to develop within the first 6 – 12 months after surgery. It is not impossible for encapsulation to occur later than that, but it is extremely rare. If you start to notice any unusual signs or symptoms of capsular contracture, it is important to contact your surgeon right away. In some very early cases, capsular contracture may be correctable without surgery, though if it is not diagnosed until a later stage, surgical implant removal will likely be required.

How can I prevent capsular contracture?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent capsular contracture, though there are some things that may reduce your risk, including:

  • Having the implant placed under the muscle
  • Avoiding heavy lifting, straining, or trauma after surgery
  • Regular breast massage after healing

During your breast augmentation consultation in Las Vegas, Dr. Khorsandi will thoroughly discuss the potential risks and complications of the procedure and answer any questions you may have. The expert team at VIP Plastic Surgery is committed to providing the highest level of care, minimizing any known risk factors, and keeping patient health and safety as our top priorities.

Does capsular contracture happen to saline or silicone implants more often?

Any woman who undergoes breast augmentation with synthetic implants can develop capsular contracture, whether silicone or saline implants are used, though the risk may be slightly higher with silicone gel implants.

Is there a natural alternative to breast implants?

For patients who prefer a more natural approach to breast augmentation that does not require the use of foreign bodies, fat transfer to the breast may be a fitting option. This innovative technique utilizes liposuction to harvest fat from one area of the patient’s body and transfer it to the breast for results that look and feel incredibly natural. Furthermore, because there is no implant used, there is no risk of capsular contracture with fat transfer to the breast. However, this procedure may not be ideal for everyone. For instance, patients desiring a significant increase in breast size may require implants, since there is a limit on how much fat can be transferred. Additionally, patients interested in fat grafting for breast augmentation must have enough excess fat elsewhere on the body available for transfer.

Minimize your risk for breast implant complication in Las Vegas, NV

Without a doubt, one of the most valuable things patients can do to minimize the potential for complications during breast augmentation is to select a highly experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable plastic surgeon. Dr. Christopher Khorsandi is board-certified, award-winning, and internationally recognized for his unmatched level of expertise and stunning results. Call the welcoming team at VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, NV to schedule your private consultation with Dr. Khorsandi in our office, or stay in the comfort of your own home with an online consultation instead. Either way, we look forward to helping you finally achieve the body you’ve been dreaming of!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.