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Stages & Symptoms of Capsular Contracture

Capsular Contracture is when a hard capsule forms around the implant. Doctors believe a “biofilm” forms around it and may be caused by bacterial contamination. The capsule around the implant makes the implant more firm, and can make the breasts’ shape look different and uneven.

Capsular Contracture cannot be prevented 100%. Dr. Rahal uses the most up-to-date, and best, practices to reduce its rate of occurrence. This includes not touching the implant, placing it underneath the muscle, and using antibiotics during surgery.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated by your plastic surgeon. If the diagnosis is made of capsular contracture, you should explore treatment options. Fortunately, there are now non-invasive treatments for capsular contracture.


  • The implant begins to feel hard

  • You are experiencing pain, tightness, or discomfort in your chest

  • The implant shape is off, like in the form of a ball

  • You notice asymmetry after three months as one implant is higher on your chest

Stages and Treatment Options At Each Stage

Stage 1: The capsule begins to form around the implant. There are no symptoms yet. After-surgery prevention techniques like ultrasound therapy may help prevent this stage from happening.

Stage 2: The breasts still look normal. There is no distortion. But the implant feels more firm to the patient.

Stage 3: At this stage, the breasts now look different as well as feel different. They can be ball-shaped, uneven, or ride high on the chest. The implant will continue to harden. It is unlikely to be painful at this point, but it is possible. 

Stage 4: This stage has the same symptoms as stage 3. In addition, the patient may experience pain, discomfort or soreness around the breasts.

At this stage, non-invasive treatment may work. Or it can be used in combination with a Remove and Replace procedure. If you are having a revision surgery, there are ways to prevent capsular contracture from forming again. Read about surgical treatment here.

If you are having any of these symptoms, please contact Dr. Rahal’s office. Dr. Rahal uses the latest methods for treating capsular contracture and preventing it from happening again. Fill out the form below to get a free consultation.

Your insurance providers may cover a capsulectomy with Dr. Rahal. Call (424) 512-1902 to have his friendly staff check your insurance benefits for you.

When Do Symptoms Appear? The Timeline of Capsular Contracture

Most cases of capsular contracture develop within 2 years post surgery.

About 25% of them happen 5 years after surgery.

Symptoms can appear as early as 3 to 6 months after. Before 3 months it is too early to tell for sure, although it is possible.

Between 1 and 3 months after your breast augmentation, it is too early to see your final results.

For most patients, the healing process is asymmetric. Asymmetry can lead to one breast being more swollen, have more bruising, or being higher than the other. Do not worry. This is the normal healing process and will go away with time.

It is very rare to get capsular contracture in the first 3 months. Beyond 3 months, a patient can usually spot symptoms. Prior to this period, only a doctor can tell for sure. The most common responses from a doctor is for you to wait as it is too soon to tell. After 3 months, it will be very clear if a capsule is forming.

If you believe you are starting to have any of these symptoms, please fill out the form below:

Which symptoms are you experiencing?(Required)

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