Capsulotomy describes both surgical and non-surgical procedures used to correct capsular contracture.
Open capsulotomy is a commonly performed surgical capsular contracture correction procedure ideal for patients who have thin breast tissue and may end up with highly visible and palpable implants if scar tissue is completely removed. In contrast, closed capsulotomy is a non-surgical treatment option for capsular contracture that is not recommended.
An open capsulotomy involves surgically releasing the scar tissue, or capsule, contracted around the breast implant by scoring the capsule with small incisions. Open capsulotomy may also involve partial removal of scar tissue, however complete removal of the capsule is a different surgical procedure called a capsulectomy.
During an open capsulotomy, you will be placed under general anesthesia or IV sedation with local anesthesia, and thus, you will require transportation after your procedure is complete. Open capsulotomy surgery uses the same incision as your initial breast augmentation so no new scarring should result.
Open capsulotomy recovery is usually very similar to your initial breast augmentation recovery, but many patients report that it is less painful. Vigorous physical activity can usually be resumed within two to three weeks after open capsulotomy surgery, while bruising and swelling should be resolved within four weeks.
Although this is not the case for most patients, capsular contracture can reoccur even after capsular contracture correction with an open capsulotomy or any other procedure.
There is also a non-surgical capsulotomy procedure called a closed capsulotomy, wherein a surgeon forcibly squeezes the breast in an effort to break up the capsule, or scar tissue, that has contracted and hardened around the implant. This is of historical interest only and is not performed by Dr. Pfeifer. Closed capulotomy is not recommended and is mentioned for information purposes only. Closed capsulotomy is typically performed with some local anesthesia because the compression of the breast is painful.
Closed capsulotomy procedures are not recommended as they tend to increase the risk of implant rupture. Additionally, when implant rupture does occur as a result of closed capsulotomy, the breast implant warranty is void.
During consultation, female plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy Pfeifer will review your medical history, evaluate your initial breast augmentation results and talk with you about capsular contracture treatment options including capsulotomy.