How long does it take to recover from Capsulectomy?

After nearly 20 years, I'm having my breast implants removed. The shape of my breasts has become round and uneven due to what my doctor describes as a calcification of the tissue. I'm not even sure I understand what that means. He assures me that the Capsulectomy doesn't make the operation more risky or extend the recovery time, but I've heard otherwise. Can anyone give me a straight answer? Thank you so much.

P.S.: I'm done with implants, by the way - I don't plan on getting new ones.


F, 50, California

Tags:breasts capsular contracture unwanted implants

Capsulectomy is an out-patient surgery and there isn’t any physical therapy required, so most of the recovery is about giving yourself the time necessary to feel better and get back into the normal swing of things. Some things you can do right away, while others you’ll need to wait a bit for. Be prepared for the first few days to be uncomfortable, but after that things should start feeling better.

The first couple of days following a capsulectomy will be difficult and you’ll want someone at home to help you. You’ll want to walk in order to get rid of swelling, but you don’t want to engage in any heavy activity (ex: go to the gym or go swimming) for about six weeks. For the first two weeks, don’t lift anything that weighs more than five pounds. After one or two weeks, you’ll be able to get back into your normal life for the most part - you can rejoin social activities and things like that, as well as head back to work. After 72 hours you can shower.

Formation of a capsule results in increasing firmness of the breasts often with tethering and discomfort. There is often a typical appearance change that is associated.  Treatment is with a capsulectomy with or without implant replacement. This is not a particularly risky or difficult procedure and there is in fact fairly minimal recovery particularly if it is limited to implant removal and capsulectomy. There is often less pain than the initial procedure and we would simply have you use a sports bra for compression initially.

Of course, depending on the degree of your natural breast tissues it is possible that there might ultimately be some droopiness and a subsequent lift might be desirable.

Breast capsulectomy surgery is completed with a cut through the previous surgery scar tissue. This incision will open the capsule and allow the surgeon to remove the breast implant. It sounds like you are making the best decision to have the operation completed, as you may have a grade 3 or 4 capsulectomy. 

Grade 1 – The breast appears soft and natural looking
Grade 2 – The breast looks normal but is becoming a little firm
Grade 3 – The breast seems abnormal and is firm to the touch
Grade 4 - The breast appears unusual and is rigid and hard

Your recovery will be easier than your original breast augmentation surgery, and you should experience much relief and comfort. You should be back to work within one week. I wish you success!

Breast implants that are used for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes must be removed when they are damaged, aged or ruptured, and cannot be repaired. It is common for a breast implant removal to be combined with capsulectomy. Whenever you are considering an operation, you must consider the risk to benefit ratio. Before your surgery, your surgeon will explain the risks of the procedure, possible complications, and the surgical expectations. Your surgeon will help you to determine if the potential benefit is far greater than the surgical risks.

The recovery period will be much like your original breast augmentation. Drains are typically removed within a week. The typical recovery time varies person-to-person. Most patients must take one week off from work, but those with a desk job may return sooner. Light exercise is typically restored within two weeks, and strenuous activity within six weeks.