Asymmetrical Contraction of Breast Implants

Most recent answer: 10/20/2013

Hello, I am a plastic surgeon who uses breast implants. One problem with implants is that the body makes a "capsule" around the implant. The capsule can get thick and start to "squeeze" the implant, which we call capsular contracture. It deforms the shape of the implant. The capsule can tighten so much that it will compress the implant into a completely round sphere. We have round and shaped implants. I am including link to pictures of each type. The shaped implants, which have a more asymmetric, tear drop shape compared to the round, have lower capsular contracture rates. My question is: if the capsule in exerting compressive forces on the implant, is it easier for it to "tighten" around a symetrical implant compared to the shaped, asymmetric implant? In other words, if the capsule is tight or thick around the shaped implant, but the implant is not deformed, is it because it cannot "squeeze" as much because of the asymmetry of the implant? Thank you. Tracy|dc_pcrid_31260635115_pkw_%2Bshaped%20%2Bimplant_pmt_b
- Tracy Pfeifer (age 52)
New York, New York

If the two types of implants were spherical and non-spherical, the answer might be pretty easy. A spherical shape already has as much volume as possible for its surface area. Anything squeezing in on the surface will cause real compression, increasing the pressure and potentially leading to leaks. A non-spherical shape can deform to increase its volume while leaving its surface area unchanged by becoming more spherical. That leaves it some room to adjust without much pressure increase as the contracture occurs. 

I guess that although neither shape starts out spherical, the one that's farther from spherical has more room to adjust before the pressure starts to go up and problems develop. 

Mike W.


(published on 10/20/2013)