Surgical Treatment for Capsular Contracture: A New Paradigm and Algorithm

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020 Sep;146(3):516-525. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000007079.


Background: Capsular contracture following breast augmentation is prone to recurrence with conventional surgical therapy. Adding acellular dermal matrix improves results but significantly increases operating time and cost. This study tested a new treatment algorithm that uses acellular dermal matrix selectively to optimize success rates while minimizing its drawbacks.

Methods: All patients surgically treated by the authors for Baker grade III/IV capsular contracture between 2007 and 2018 were included in this retrospective cohort study. Data were collected on patient, breast augmentation, capsular contracture, and surgical treatment characteristics, in addition to follow-up findings. Treatment success was defined as Baker grade II or better.

Results: One hundred eighty patients underwent 217 surgical treatments for capsular contracture. Conventional treatment was used in 185 cases and acellular dermal matrix in 32. Twenty-six patients were treated for a second occurrence and four were treated for a third. The average follow-up was 2.4 years. Conventional treatment was successful in 72.5 percent of first occurrences, 62.5 percent of second occurrences, and 50.0 percent of third occurrences. Acellular dermal matrix was successful in 96.9 percent of cases. The odds of failure were increased by bilateral capsular contracture (3.9 times) and previous treatment failure (3.5 times). When acellular dermal matrix was used selectively for bilateral capsular contracture or in unilateral cases with a previous treatment failure, the overall treatment success rate improved to 85.6 percent compared with 64.2 percent when this algorithm was not followed (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that selective acellular dermal matrix use can increase success rate to over 85 percent in the overall treatment of capsular contracture, and to nearly 100 percent in individual cases.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Implant Capsular Contracture / surgery*
  • Mammaplasty / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome