Hard breasts after implants is a condition called capsule formation. The implant itself doesn’t harden. The tissues around it are the problem. Irritated by the implant, tissues thicken and shrink, making the implant feel hard or look misshapen or out of place. Although many women with capsules don’t even know they have them, severe capsules are annoying.
Why do capsules form? Any irritation seems to be the problem. Six years of implant research submitted to the FDA by implant manufacturer Mentor (www.mentor.com) shows that 10% of women with gel breast implants and 8% of those with saline (salt water) implants develop capsules.
Surgery is the usual treatment. But a new study reports on using anti-leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are natural molecules involved in inflammation. They may contribute to capsule formation. Drugs that block leukotrienes include Accolate made by AstroZeneca (which proved too risky to use) and Singulair made by Merck.
A recent study shows that Singulair improves mild capsules around implants. It was a small study, only 19 patients, and retrospective with no controls, so the finding is preliminary.
Still trying Singulair (10 mgm a day for 90 days) is reasonable since your other choices are living with the capsules or having surgery.
As we learn more about capsules, we’ll certainly learn more about preventing them!
Copyright May 2012 E Morgan MD