Symptoms of a Capsular Contraction

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Each woman is different, and not everyone who suffers from capsular contraction will experience it in the same way.  Why symptoms of capsular contraction might no be immediately apparent, especially if you are only suffering from a low-grade episode.  However, if you notice any changes in the feel or appearance of your implanted breast, then capsular contraction might be the reason for this.

The grades for capsular contraction

Capsular contraction is judged in severity by the use of a grading system known as the Baker scale.  This scale allows doctors and surgeons to assess the seriousness of the capsule tightening, and allow them to determine which cases need surgical intervention. 

The Baker Scale

  • Grade 1 – The breast is still soft, there is no visual irregularity and all appears normal.  There is no pain.
  • Grade 2 – The implant can be felt, and the breast is slightly harder than is considered normal.  Visually there is no obvious irregularity, and little if no pain.
  • Grade 3 – The breast is much harder than is considered normal, you can see and feel the implant and the breast might appear misshapen.  There might be some pain, although not unmanageable
  • Grade 4 – The breast is swollen, very hard, and sore to touch.  It might be very painful, and could even restrict your movement.  The location of the implant might have changed, and visually it is obviously distorted.

Those who experience grade 3 or 4 capsular contraction are likely to require treatment to rectify it.  However, people with grade 1 or 2 can sometimes live with the condition, the only real need for treatment being to change any visual distortion or rectify the feel of the breast.

Most women experience signs of capsular contraction around 3 months after their breast augmentation surgery, however timescales can and do differ.  Your breast might:

  • Feel tighter as the scar tissue develops, this might be very noticeable or only felt when massaging quite deep. 
  • Look an abnormal shape as the scar tissue pushes on the implant.
  • Be painful to touch.
  • Appear pink or swollen and feel warm as the inflammation increases.

These can occur in different ways, sometimes it might feel hard but look normal, other times it might be painful.  Capsular contraction can occur in a variety of grades, it is possible that you only have a very slight experience, and that this might not cause you any bother at all. 

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