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Silicone Gel Breast Implant Bleed May Contribute to Capsular Contractur

Capsular contracture is a poorly understood complication of breast augmentation. In capsular contracture, the scar capsule the body builds around the breast implant stiffens and becomes smaller, resulting in high pressure on the breast implant, making the breasts potentially painful and deformed. Understanding the causes of capsular contracture can help us predict when it may occur and how to prevent it.

We know that capsular contracture is more common with silicone gel breast implants than with saline breast implants, and breast surgeons have long suspected that the bleeding of silicone gel through the breast implant shell may be responsible for the difference. To test this theory, researchers placed small breast implants inside swine. Some implants were photochemically altered to simulate the higher bleed rate of generation II silicone breast implants. Then researchers implanted newer implants, puncturing some of them to simulate rupture.

Breast augmentation researchers found that the stiffness of the capsule was correlated with the amount of silicone that bled from the implant. This explains the increased risk of capsular contracture with silicone breast implants. Researchers also found that more modern implants were best at stopping silicone migration, resulting in soft capsules that would be expected to result in breasts with natural appearance and feel.

To learn more about breast augmentation risks and complications and how technology has reduced the incidence of these risks, please contact Dr. David A. Bottger, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Philadelphia.