Capsular contracture is among the most feared of breast augmentation complications. This occurs when scar tissue forms around the implant, and can cause pain, stiffness and possible leakage of the fluid inside the implant. Fortunately, the next generation of breast implants being used today are vastly improved so that there is a much lower rate of capsules from the silicone gel used in the 1990s.
Capsular contracture almost always involves revision surgery, and there is no way to predict who will develop it or when. What’s more, women who undergo secondary surgery to treat capsular contracture have a higher risk of it occurring again. And it’s not pretty.
One of its causes is biofilm — a slimy coating of microorganisms adhering to the surface of the implant that causes a low-grade infection. This nastiness likely occurs when the implant and or pocket is contaminated during breast surgery.
Enter the Keller Funnel2, an innovative first-of-its-kind silicone gel implant delivery tool that allows for no-touch breast implant insertion. No touch means no risk of contamination from skin. It can only be used with pre-filled silicone gel breast implants.
A new study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal compared 1,177 breast augmentations done without this funnel to 1,620 breast augmentations done with it. The funnel group experienced a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of reoperations performed due to capsular contracture within 12 months of their breast augmentation. The rate of reoperation due to capsular contracture was higher without use of the funnel, the study showed.
Seattle plastic surgeon Richard A. Baxter, MD uses the funnel for all of his silicone implant breast augmentations, bar none.
“There is good evidence that many if not most cases of capsular contracture are related to biofilms and the fact that the funnel reduces incidence of capsular contracture supports that,” he tells Beauty in the Bag. “By preventing contact of the implant with the skin during insertion, the bacteria that cause biofilms are less likely to get on the implant.”
Even a thorough skin prep does not remove or kill all bacteria, says Baxter, one of the authors of the study. The addition of the funnel won’t dramatically increase the cost of the procedure either, he says. It adds about $100 to the surgical fee, and for peace of mind, who wouldn’t want that?!