Signs of Capsular Contracture After Breast Augmentation?

Q:  my breast implants are now 10 years old and stick out more.  They feel somewhat harder, but is this the implant or capsular contracture?  How does a doctor determine if a patient has this problem?

A: Breast implants are a foreign material.  The body reacts to it by encasing it in a capsule.  This capsule is similar to the membrane covering an egg yolk that keeps it separate from the egg white.  For some patients, this membrane begins to harden over time making it more like an egg shell. At this point, the breast will feel hard and the shape can become distorted.  This sounds like what you are experiencing.  Your plastic surgeon can confirm this with an examination. This can be corrected surgically by removing the implant and the capsule that has formed.  A new implant can then be placed.  Capsule formation and capsular contracture are known complications following breast augmentation with implants.