The dreaded CC. When a foreign object is introduced into your body, either purposely or accidentally, a fibrous capsule forms around the object to essentially wall it off from the rest of your body. Many times, these capsules are tissue thin (my own was after both my implant removal surgeries), but sometimes they become thick and contract causing the patient much agony and distortion of the breast. CC affects an estimated 5% of patients, and usually occurs recently after breast augmentation surgery. No one really knows definitively, but CC is believed to be caused by either contamination of the implant or surgical instruments by bacteria before or during surgery, hematoma, seroma, or from radiation therapy either pre- or post-operatively. Smoking is also believed to be a possible trigger for CC due to the vasoconstriction caused by nicotine, causing less oxygen to the tissue and less than optimal healing conditions after surgery.
Unfortunately, CC can also occur years after the fact. Many believe delayed CC is caused by transient anaerobic bacteria, usually released into the blood stream via tiny lacerations in the gums if one has gingivitis, or via bacterial infections introduced through trauma/puncture, and even other types of infections within the body. CC may also be caused by trauma (without puncture contamination) to the breast area as mentioned above due usually to seroma or hematoma. I am thankful to have never had an issue, but I felt that the threat loomed above my head every time I went in for a cleaning.
Due to the recent advances and realizations (trial and error) in medical science, CC has decreased considerably. Although I do not believe it will be a non-existent possibility, I do feel that the chances can be significantly lowered as we learn more about capsular contracture. Surgeons are paying particular attention to the sterile handling of the implant itself, sometimes dipped the implants in antibiotics, administering antibiotics and other medications, before, during (intravenously) and afterwards, as well as making every effort to reduce any blood accumulation in the pocket during surgery.
Interestingly, my ex boyfriend had a seroma behind his cheek implant which resulted in fibrous scar tissue and contraction of such which shifted the implant from its intended placement. Even with several revision surgeries, the device never fully maintained its implanted position for very long.
With any luck, CC will be wiped out from the breast augmentation complications list, but somehow I doubt it since our bodies differ so completely from one another. But one can hope, right?