Breast Implants: Physical Therapy for Capsular Contracture

American women are getting breast implant surgery more than ever before. In 2010 alone, 296,203 American women had breast augmentation. And all of these women should be aware of a side effect that can significantly dampen a woman’s pride in her new breasts: capsular contracture.

American women are getting breast implant surgery more than ever before. In 2010 alone, 296,203 American women had breast augmentation. And all of these women should be aware of a side effect that can significantly dampen a woman’s pride in her new breasts: capsular contracture.

Capsular contracture affects around 5% of women with breast augmentations. Capsular contracture occurs when scar tissue develops under the skin located around a breast implant, forming what is known as a tissue capsule. This can be a painful and embarrassing condition that causes distortion and discomfort in the breast.


In some cases, capsular contracture can be treated non-surgically by an experienced physical therapist. Using a specialized combination of manual therapy techniques, the therapist can break down the scar tissue, allowing a woman to avoid a corrective surgery.

We encourage women who are showing signs of capsular contracture to see a physical therapist as soon as the condition is diagnosed in order to guarantee the most effective non-surgical treatment possible. The earlier the capsular contracture is detected and treated, the better.

Due to the sensitive nature of capsular contracture, it is important to find a physical therapist that understands the condition. In my office, patients with capsular contracture only see a specially trained female therapist. Through massage techniques, stretches, exercises and instruction about the correct use of compression bandages, a specialized physical therapy program can help to break down capsular contracture tissue without surgery.

Symptoms of capsular contracture include hardness, swelling and pain in the breast. A capsular contracture will usually develop three months after the implant has been inserted, though it may develop at any time over the lifetime of the implant. Women are sometimes reluctant to report this condition to their doctor. This may stem from a fear of a second surgery.

Treating capsular contracture with physical therapy requires a multi-phased approach. Treatment begins with a thorough examination to identify areas of restriction and contracture. Your physical therapist will also coordinate with your surgeon to ensure that you are getting the proper treatment. Your visits to the studio will consist of a series of mobilization techniques and a stretching regimen to soften the breast tissue and release the contracture. The therapist will provide instructions on how to perform the stretches and apply the compression bandages at home, a practice that will accelerate recovery between in-studio visits.

Early treatment is crucial to maximizing the effectiveness of physical therapy to treat capsular contracture. Experienced physical therapists can help you to avoid a second surgery.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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