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Breast Capsular Contractures

Research shows that 1 in 6 patients will experience some degree of capsular contracture following a breast augmentation surgery. Instead of going through additional surgery, research supports noninvasive techniques, like physical therapy, to reduce the pain, stiffness, and other symptoms associated with this condition. Common symptoms may include:

  • Tender and/or painful breasts
  • Feelings of tightness or tension in the breasts
  • Pain, tension, or stiffness in the chest, neck, upper back, or shoulders
  • Rippling of the breast
  • Hard or abnormally shaped breasts
  • Difference in symmetry between the breasts

What Causes Capsular Contractures?

After having a surgery such as a breast implant, it is a normal part of the healing process for a capsule of scar tissue to form around the edges of the implant. This helps to allow the implant to stay in place and prevent any slippage or changes in appearance. However, in some patients, the capsule can become unusually hard and start to cause the nearby tissue to contract. This results in feelings of tightness, stiffness, pain, and sometimes the symmetry of the breasts can change if one capsule is tightening more than the other. This can also contribute to increased tightness and problems with nearby joints, such as the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Our physical therapists can provide a comprehensive evaluation to determine the best plan of care based on how you present. This may involve a variety of techniques to work on your underlying conditions including manual work such as therapeutic massage, stretching, and mobilizations. Treatment may also include therapeutic ultrasound which helps get deeper below the surface of the skin to loosen up the tough scar tissue and decrease tightness. Research and our experience shows that the amount of sessions to resolve this tightness using therapeutic ultrasound can vary between 4 to 12 sessions with the average being about 8 visits. In addition, we would evaluate associated areas that are commonly involved with these problems, such as working on your neck, upper back, and shoulders. We provide patient education, instructions on techniques to use at home to progress faster, and individualized exercise programs based on we determine is best for your situation.

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, please do not hesitate to make an appointment or call us for more information. We can set you up to speak with our female therapist if you have any questions and get you scheduled for a complete evaluation. We have helped others with this condition and we would be happy to help you too.