Calcification of the capsule can happen as a reaction of the body to the implants. Those who have implants that are about a decade or older, may develop calcified capsules. Whether you have saline or silicone implants, calcification can take place. However, it is more commonly found on those who have silicone implants that have leaked or have ruptured. Even if the implants are still intact, calcification can happen if there is a small silicone outside the shell.
Calcification is not harmful to the health of the patient, but it can cause discomfort because it makes your implants feel hard, sometimes even rock hard. The breasts can also be distorted due to its presence and it can lead to a possible capsular contracture.
One concern about the calcification of the capsule of the implant is its effect on mammogram readings. It can obscure the other parts of the breast and lead to a misdiagnosis. Even if the radiologist can tell the calcified capsule apart from the other calcification, the discomfort that it causes is enough for most people to have them removed.
Calcified capsules can be easily felt. They feel like very hard circular lumps. Instead of feeling the soft implants, you will feel rock hard ones. The calcified capsules can also be seen through an MRI or a mammogram. Although capsules that are not calcified can be left behind when implants are removed, highly calcified capsules should be removed along with the implants. The calcified implants may not only contain calcium, but also some silicone and shell debris from the implants.
The calcified implants are not only hard but they can also cause a distortion of the shape and size of the breast. They can also worsen when they are accompanied with capsular contracture wherein there is hardening and immobility of the breast. It can be painful and uncomfortable to have this, so surgical removal is the best option.
If a calcified capsule is removed, the intact implant may still be used if it is still not damaged. Patients can also select another set of implants to use when they still want to have implants for their breasts.
Some patients with calcified implant capsule may request to have en block resection of their breast implants along with the capsule. This just means that the whole capsule would be removed all in one piece with the implant inside. This is great as it prevents contamination of silicone to other breast tissues. However, this may not be possible if the capsule is thin. Surgeons would rather save the healthy surrounding tissue rather than provide a whole intact capsule and cause damage to the surrounding tissue.
When there is a need for the implants to be removed, the capsules that surround it can stay as long as they are not highly calcified, not filled with silicone, or abnormal in appearance. The formation of the capsule happens as the body responds to the implants. It is a scar tissue that is not really necessary to remove when you decide to get rid of your implants.
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