Breast augmentation without the risk of capsular fibrosis

Well-shaped breasts are at the top of the wish list for many women. In the U.S. alone, more than 300,000 breast augmentations were performed last year, and breast surgeries are the top cosmetic surgery procedure in our country as well. Now there is good news on the subject of risks and side effects. Drugs prevent capsular fibrosis.

Adding up the reports from implant manufacturers, about 50,000 German women had their décolleté boosted last year with the help of breast augmentation. Implanting silicone cushions is still the most frequently performed surgical technique. “Unfortunately, five to six percent of patients develop capsule fibrosis, hardening, deformities and pain as a result,” reports plastic aesthetic surgeon Professor Ulrich Retzke at the Innovations Symposium in Berlin. The good news: the latest study results show that something can be done about it.

First of all, there is an infinite range of implants. Roughly speaking, there are silicone gel implants and saline implants. Today, however, the use of silicone implants is the general standard.

Risk of capsular fibrosis

Among the greatest risks associated with breast augmentation with implants is capsular fibrosis. “This is a so-called foreign body reaction,” explains Professor Retzke. Even a high-quality and perfectly implanted silicone cushion is perceived by the body as a disturbing factor in some cases, he says. The organism defends itself against the implant, gradually encasing it in a sheath of connective tissue – with the result that pain, hardening and deformation occur and the implant has to be removed again.

Now there’s something that can be done to prevent this. Dr. Larry Schlesinger of the Breast Implant Center of Hawaii found through a chance finding that asthma medications help. “The leukotriene receptor blockers cause local immunosuppression, which can prevent fibrosis in at least 75 percent of cases.” Dr. Schlesinger has now treated more than 1,500 patients this way at his Ostsee Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Flensburg.

The asthma drug is taken for the first time one day before the procedure and then for three months. “Of course, you have to educate patients about this so-called ‘off-label-use’. In our clinic in Flensburg, we have been using this medication for one and a half years. Since then, we have not had a case of capsular fibrosis.”

Lead photo: WAYHOME studio/