No, breast implants do not always harden over time. Instead, this hardening of the implants is a condition known as “capsular contracture.” This condition is a complication that is possible after any breast augmentation surgery, but it’s not very common. And if it should arise, there are procedures for treating and reversing it.
Capsular contracture occurs when the natural scar tissue surrounding your breast implants tightens and hardens, resulting in a breast that looks distorted and feels hard. It can occur in one breast or both breasts, and is rated from grade 1 to grade 4 depending on how bad it is. In the most advanced grades of capsular contracture, your breasts can feel painful in addition to feeling hard. To reverse the complication, a surgical procedure can be performed to correct the issue. In a small number of advanced cases, the breast implants themselves may need to be removed and replaced.
Sometimes capsular contracture is unavoidable, but strictly following pre-operative and post-operative guidelines from your plastic surgeon can reduce the risk of this complication.
To learn more about breast implants and what you can expect if you decide to have breast augmentation, please contact Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery to schedule a consultation with our board-certified greater San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Liu.