There’s been a lot written about the importance of safety in the facilities where plastic surgery procedures are performed. I don’t think we can emphasize enough that safe facilities are absolutely essential and must be accompanied by safe surgical methods. But, what I’d like to do today is get a little more specific and talk about the importance of sterilization for breast augmentation surgery in particular.
Any surgical procedure carries inherent risk. For breast augmentation, the most common complication and thus one of the more significant risks is capsular contracture. Capsular contracture is a condition caused by the immune system’s response to breast implants. It results in a capsule of scar tissue that forms around the implant, tightening and squeezing the implant. Depending upon the severity of the capsular contracture, this can lead to pain and alter the appearance of the breast. So what can we do to prevent it?
A recent study suggests that capsular contracture may be associated with the presence of several types of bacteria. The cause/effect role of bacteria in the development of capsular contracture has not been proven, but the evidence suggests that there may be a connection. The concern, then, is if and how bacteria are entering the body with the implant and how we can prevent it.
All surgeons share a concern about infection prevention and breast surgeons in particular are committed to reducing the risk of capsular contracture. For example, one surgeon has developed a technique that “funnels” the breast implant directly into the breast, using a “no-touch” approach that reduces the risk of contamination. As we learn more about the potential link between bacteria and capsular contracture, perhaps other methods will be devised to reduce risk of infection.
A discussion with a qualified plastic surgeon will give you a more complete understanding of capsular contracture and the factors that can cause it. And, while it is undeniably an unpleasant reality, only you can determine if it is a risk you are willing to take for the improvement to your appearance and – potentially – your self-confidence.