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Why do breast implants get hard?

The answer is they don’t. Instead, your body forms a hard shell around the implant in the form of a capsule.

Whenever we implant something in the human body, be it a breast implant, pacemaker, or a chemotherapy port, your body makes a wall of scar around the foreign object. Your immune system knows ‘you’ and ‘not you’. When it encounters your implants, the immune system checks it out and it knows it’s not ‘you’. If the implants were living things your body would attack it and try to kill it. Since it can’t kill it, it forms a layer of scar around the implant. Think of it as your body trying to quarantine the implant.

So capsule formation is a 100% natural, expected event. You get an implant, you’re going to get a capsule. Normally the capsules are paper thin and inconsequential. In 12 to 13% of the cases the capsules thicken. In these cases the capsule can range from something you can only feel to a situation where they cause the breast to appear misshapen, very hard and even uncomfortable to the patient. We call this capsular contracture and this is what makes the breast feel so firm.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lee Corbett. Dr. Corbett specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery including facelifts, browlifts, blepharoplasy, Louisville Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions, body lifts, liposuction,  and tummy tucks.

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