Breast implants are a form of plastic surgery aimed at augmenting the breasts. During the procedure, either silicone or saline filled sacs are surgically inserted between the breast tissues and the pectoral muscles. After insertion, the cut tissue is stitched together, and then the individual must allow their body time to heal. After surgical scars have adequately healed, there are some complications of having breast implants that one should watch out for. A condition know as capsular contracture, or breast encapsulation, occurs when the body creates hardened tissue surrounding the implant. The hardened tissue begins to encapsulate the breast implant, exerting pressure on it until the breast become inordinately firm, disfigured, or painful.
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Determine whether you are at an increased risk for developing a breast encapsulation. While the causes of breast encapsulation are not entirely known, there are risk factors that are associated with their development. These include: cigarette smoking, experiencing trauma to the breast, bacterial infection of the breast tissue following surgery, radiation therapy for breast cancer, and the accumulation of water or blood in the breast tissue. Of course, you cannot have a breast encapsulation unless you have breast implants.
Evaluate your symptoms for breast encapsulation. The most common symptom is a gradual firming of one or both of the breasts. Other symptoms include experiencing pain in one or both of your breasts and a distortion in the shape of the breast.
Grade your symptoms using the Baker Grading System, which measures the severity of breast encapsulation. The Baker Grading System is based on a scale from one to four. Grade one of the scale is a breast that looks and feels completely normal. Grade two is when the breast feels slightly firm, but appears entirely normal. Grade three is when the breast is firm and appears visually distorted in shape or position. The most severe grade of breast encapsulation is the fourth, which is characterised by a very hard feeling to the breast, as well as gross distortions in its shape and position.
Tips and warnings
- Seek professional council from a licensed medical doctor if you suspect that you may be developing a breast encapsulation. The diagnosis should be made by a trained professional, who will be able to advise you on available treatments.
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