What are the causes of capsular contracture?
Capsular contracture can be caused by a number of different factors; it is not fully understood by the scientific community—sometimes, it can occur on one breast and not the other. While no one completely understands the causes of capsular contracture, some of the suggested possibilities include bacterial contamination, hematoma, breast cancer treatment, genetic predisposition, and random chance.
Capsular contracture can develop due to the formation of a thin layer of bacteria (called biofilm) within the breast pocket. Biofilm can be introduced to the body during the initial breast implant procedure when the implant is inserted into the breast cavity. Additionally, it can occur from bacteria entering the bloodstream from a distant area, such as a teeth cleaning, a colonoscopy, or an infected toe. Biofilm can cause an infection, which can lead to capsular contracture.
Hematoma (Accumulation of Blood) and Seroma (Accumulation of Fluid)
Some patients may need to use drains to help ensure that blood and fluid do not collect within the breast pocket. Blood and fluid collection provides nutrients that bacteria feed on, which increases the possible development and growth of capsular contracture-causing biofilm.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast implants are the most common way of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. However, if there is associated radiation treatment, that can increase the chance of capsular contracture.
Pre-existing conditions and genetics can cause a patient to be more prone to developing thick scar tissue. Women with a family history of autoimmune disease or scarring concerns may be at a heightened risk of developing capsular contracture.
Unfortunately, capsular contracture can also be caused at random, with no easily identifiable source. This can’t be predicted, and ultimately it comes down to chance.