Capsulectomy: Surgery for Breast Capsular Contracture | PreferredMD
Plastic Surgery

Capsulectomy: Surgery for Breast Capsular Contracture

Procedure • By Biraj Patel

A capsulectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the capsule that forms around breast implants, primarily to address a condition known as breast capsular contracture.

When is a capsulectomy necessary?

A capsulectomy surgery may be necessary in the following situations:

  • Severe capsular contracture: When capsular contracture reaches advanced stages and causes pain, discomfort, or significant breast distortion, a capsulectomy may be recommended.
  • Implant rupture or leakage: If a breast implant ruptures or leaks, a capsulectomy may be necessary to remove the implant and the surrounding capsule.
  • Recurrent capsular contracture: If capsular contracture reoccurs despite previous treatments, a capsulectomy may be performed to address the issue more effectively.

Difference between capsulectomy and implant removal

Capsulectomy and implant removal are two distinct procedures. While capsulectomy involves the removal of the fibrous capsule surrounding the implant, implant removal refers solely to the extraction of the breast implants themselves. Breast capsulectomy may be performed in conjunction with implant removal, depending on the patient's specific circumstances. 

Can you live with capsular contracture?

While it is possible to live with capsular contracture, it can cause physical discomfort, breast distortion, and psychological distress for some individuals. Severe cases of capsular contracture can also impact the integrity and function of the breast implants. 

Benefits of capsulectomy

Capsulectomy offers several benefits for patients with breast capsular contracture, including:

  • Improved breast appearance: Removing the capsule can restore a more natural-looking breast shape and contour.
  • Enhanced comfort: Capsular contracture can cause discomfort and tightness. Capsulectomy surgery can alleviate these symptoms.
  • Reduced risk of recurrence: By removing the capsule, the chances of capsular contracture recurring are significantly reduced.
  • Explantation flexibility: Breast capsulectomy creates an opportunity to replace the implants, downsize, or opt for implant removal if desired.

Preparing for capsulectomy surgery


Schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your concerns, medical history, and desired outcomes.

Medical evaluation

Undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation, including a physical examination and any necessary tests, to assess your overall health and determine your eligibility for surgery.

Medication review

Inform your surgeon about any medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking, as they may need to be adjusted before the surgery.

Smoking cessation

If you smoke, your surgeon may advise you to quit smoking several weeks before and after the surgery, as smoking can impair healing and increase the risk of complications.

How risky is a capsulectomy?

Capsulectomy is generally considered a safe procedure, although, like any surgery, it carries potential risks and complications. These can include infection, bleeding, anesthesia risks, and scarring. However, with a skilled plastic surgeon and proper pre-operative evaluation, these risks can be minimized.

Capsulectomy: Surgical procedure

You will receive general anesthesia to ensure a pain-free and comfortable experience throughout the surgery. The surgeon will make incisions in strategic locations, such as the inframammary fold, periareolar area, or the axilla, based on your specific case and the surgeon's preference.

The surgeon will carefully dissect and remove the fibrous capsule surrounding the implant, taking care not to damage surrounding tissue. If implant replacement is planned, the surgeon may assess the condition of the implants and decide on the appropriate course of action.

The incisions will be meticulously closed, and dressings or surgical tape will be applied to aid in the healing process.

Follow-up care after capsulectomy

After the capsulectomy procedure, your surgeon will provide specific instructions for a smooth recovery. 

  • Wound care: Follow proper wound care instructions, ensuring that the incision sites remain clean and dry as advised.
  • Medication: Take prescribed pain medication and antibiotics, if necessary, as directed by your surgeon.
  • Supportive garments: Wear compression garments or a supportive bra to promote healing, reduce swelling, and provide optimal support.
  • Physical activity restrictions: Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and exercise for the recommended period to allow your body to heal properly.
  • Follow-up appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress, address any concerns, and ensure a successful recovery.

Is breast capsulectomy painful?

Following the surgery, it is common to experience some discomfort, swelling, and mild pain. However, these symptoms can be effectively managed with prescribed pain medication.

Book an appointment with top-rated plastic surgeons on PreferredMD

If you have breast implants and are worried about capsular contracture or other implant-related illness, schedule a visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon. By seeking professional advice, you can gain clarity and make informed decisions about your breast health.

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