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Open Capsulectomy


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A capsulectomy is similar to a capsulotomy in that it is a surgical procedure that will help to target your capsular contraction.  However, the key difference is that during a capsulectomy the entire capsule is removed rather than incisions being made within the pre-existing capsule.  This allows your body to start again, to create a new hardened layer of tissue around your implant in the hope that this will prevent another episode of capsular contraction.  Usually this works, and the operation has a very high success rate, although takes a bit longer and is likely to be costlier than a capsulotomy.

The Open Capsulectomy Procedure

During a capsulectomy you will be placed under a general anaesthetic, an incision will be placed either on your previous scars from your breast augmentation, around your nipple or under your breast.  This allows as little noticeable scar tissue as possible. Your surgeon will take out your implant, and will remove the capsule surrounding it.  After the implant has been thoroughly cleaned it will be re-inserted in its former position.  In most cases when this occurs, although your body will create a layer surrounding your implant, it won’t be problematic or too hard in nature. Once the implant is re-inserted your surgeon will close the sutures using stitches and drains.  The whole procedure is likely to take about an hour and a half to complete.  This will allow your wounds to heal well, removing any excess liquid from the area.  You are likely to stay in hospital overnight so that you can be properly observed, although some people are able to go home on the same day.

After a week or so your surgeon will remove your stitches, unless they are dissolvable, and check on the appearance of your breasts and wounds.  They will also check that they are happy that your implants are symmetrical and that there is no evidence of infection or any complications. 

Recovering from an Open Capsulectomy

Following your capsulectomy surgery you will be in some pain, and your breast will be swollen and bruised for a couple of weeks.  Your surgeon will be able to give you some painkillers to help with this, and if you still experience discomfort after a week you can use over the counter pain medication to ease this.

You are likely to have dissolvable stitches to fix your sutures, which will be absorbed by your body after a few weeks.  Unfortunately it will take a long time for your scars to fade, up to two years, and they are unlikely to ever completely disappear.  They will, however, be positioned so that they are subtle, often under the armpit, around the nipple or in the curve of your breast. 

It is important that you take it easy for a few days following your surgery, after two weeks you can return to normal activities.  This will allow your body a chance to properly recover following the upset of surgery.

After your capsulectomy procedure your surgeon will schedule you some check-up appointments, in order to ensure that you are healing well and that you are happy with your implants.  If you start to experience any more difficulties with your implants then you must seek medical attention, and that you let your surgeon know.  A capsulectomy is a very effective treatment for capsular contraction, and there are only a few instances where it re-occurs.  However, there is still a chance of this happening. 

Risks

Due to the surgical nature of capsulectomy, there are risks involved with the procedure.  These will be discussed between you and your surgeon during your consultation session, and can include:

  • Infection.  There is always a risk of infection entering the body due to surgery, although with properly sterile equipment and appropriate aftercare measures there is only a small chance of this occurring.
  • There is a risk that you might be allergic to the anaesthetic used during your surgery.  If you suffer from any allergies to medication these must be made known to your surgeon so that they can take appropriate measures to avoid any reactions.
  • You might experience heavy bleeding or haematoma following your capsulectomy, although this ought to be prevented by your surgeon.
  • Although in most cases a capsulectomy will be successful, sometimes the new capsule created around the implants will form the same problem. 
  • It is possible that you aren’t happy with your results following your capsulectomy, your implants might not lie where they previously did or your breast might not regain its former appearance.  Your surgeon might be able to correct this for you.
  • Following a capsulectomy some women find that they cannot breastfeed. 

Although there are risks involved with the procedure, if you have capsular contracture a capsulectomy is a very effective way to remove the capsule and give your breast the best chance of recovery.  It is important to weight up the risks with the benefits of a capsulectomy and be aware of what to look for after your surgery.

Aftercare

For the best results from a capsulectomy, it is imperative that you follow all of the advice given to you by your surgeon.  It is likely that they will advise you to:

  • Perform daily massage on your breasts to help promote a good recovery and prevent the build up of hardened tissue around the implant.
  • Take vitamin E, which is thought to help prevent the build up of scar tissue.  This will also help your incision scars to heal.
  • Visit your surgeon at the first sign of anything untoward, or if you have any concerns
  • Use scar reduction creams as these can help your scar to fade following your surgery
  • Stop smoking, as this can lengthen the healing process

Your surgeon will be able to help you to decide on which measures to take, and will talk you through what to expect following your surgery.

Recovery

A capsulectomy is a very good way of treating the problem of capsular contracture and is often seen as the preferred method to do so.  There is less risk of a reoccurrence of the problem through this procedure, and in most cases the new capsule formed around the implant causes no problems. 

The capsulectomy can help to:

  • Realign your breasts following your capsular contracture
  • Allow greater symmetry to your breasts
  • Remove the pain associated with capsular contraction
  • Adjust any deformities caused by your capsular contraction

However, there are cases where the procedure doesn’t fulfil all of these expectations.  These are rare, but might cause you to need further surgery.


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