Medical Massage Therapy for Speedier Breast Augmentation Recovery


Capsular Contracture Symptoms & Treatment

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2015 more than 280,000 women had breast augmentation surgery, and more than 106,000 breast cancer patients received reconstruction after a mastectomy, often with implants. With the increasing popularity and necessity of this surgery, more patients are experiencing a variety of complications related to the implants, to the surgery itself, or to the process of convalescence.

One of the most commonly reported complications is an immune system response known as capsular contracture. This occurs when a foreign object (such as a breast implant) ends up in our body; the body reacts by forming a fibrous lining around it called a “capsule.” Under normal conditions, the capsule that surrounds a breast implant will remain soft, allowing a natural look and feel. But there are times that the body overreacts and over guards by tightening and squeezing the implant.

One of the most powerful and widely prescribed treatments for this complication is medical massage therapy as provided by Soulstice.

Symptoms of Capsular Contracture

Because capsular contracture is the body’s way of over protecting itself from something it doesn’t recognize and preventing impending harm, it tends to be more common after a disease or infection, such as a hematoma or seroma. However, there are times when it occurs for no apparent reason. While it is unpredictable, capsular contracture is the most common complication following breast augmentation.

Grading the Severity

  • Grade I – the breast is normally soft and appears natural in size and shape.
  • Grade II – the breast is a little firm, but appears normal.
  • Grade III – the breast is firm and appears abnormal, there is no pain.
  • Grade IV – the breast is hard, painful to the touch, and appears abnormal.

How Is Capsular Contracture Diagnosed?

After your augmentation, you may notice that one or both of your breasts look and feel different, are causing you pain or discomfort, or that they are simply not as soft or natural-feeling as they once were. These symptoms should alert you to make an appointment with your plastic surgeon at once to have your breasts re-examined to determine if you are suffering this complication.

Medical Massage Therapy Helps Patients Avoid Re Surgery

There are two primary treatments for capsular contracture: re surgery (removing and the formed capsule and replacing the implant, or entirely removing both the implant and capsule), or deep massage therapy. Medical massage therapy is the safer and less radical of the two treatments because unlike re surgery, rupturing the implant with massage alone is virtually impossible.

This makes massage the more commonly prescribed treatment as well. At Soulstice we’ve been able to help our clients avoid the need for re surgery due to capsular contracture. It’s hard to know if any particular client’s encapsulating breast would have softened over time without Soulstice Peri-operative Therapy techniques, but the number of our clients who report success is a testament to our treatment.

Sarah’s Story

Sarah came to Soulstice postoperatively, 12 weeks following breast augmentation. Sarah was experiencing extreme discomfort and pain, and was very worried about her healing. Attempting to avoid re surgery, Sarah’s plastic surgeon recommended that she utilize Soulstice’ Peri-operative Therapy for pain reduction and capsular contraction.

Sarah’s Soulstice therapist was able to isolate the hypercontracted musculature and soft tissue tension in her left breast, and to apply a variety of soft tissue techniques, which had a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced swelling
  • Reduced musculature hyper tension
  • Increased lymph flow

Sarah’s treatment also resulted in a calmer nervous system, and we were able to address shoulder and neck compensation. Medical massage therapy may also allow the implant to settle into its proper position, thanks to the overall reduction in local muscle tension.

After a series of treatments, Sarah was able to regain the full range of motion in her left shoulder and entirely eliminated breast and chest pain, so that she was able to return to regular everyday exercise and activity, without resorting to re surgery.

Beyond the physical improvements, Peri-operative Therapy was able to help Sarah navigate psychologically through her uncertain and complex healing process. She was no longer worried that she was going to have to have another surgery with uncertain outcomes, and was supported in her initial choice to undergo elective surgery.

Choosing to undergo any elective cosmetic surgery is often more challenging than a person expects.

Be sure to research qualified board-certified surgeons before making your decision, and give us a call for our perspective. We are affiliated with the best surgeons in Denver, and happy to help direct you to a surgeon to best suit your individual needs and personality style.