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How to Reduce the Risk of Breast Implant Contractures with Manual Therapy

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How to Reduce the Risk of Breast Implant Contractures with Manual Therapy

Left: submuscular. Right: subglandular.

Left: submuscular. Right: subglandular.

During a breast enhancement, a silicone disc filled with saline (most often in Canada) gets inserted either in front of the muscle and behind the breast tissue (subglandular) or behind some or all of the pectoralis major muscle (submuscular). Submuscular enhancements are more common, as they give a more natural look.

When a foreign object in embedded into the body and stays put, the body builds it’s very own connective tissue capsule around it to keep the body safe. How freakin’ cool is that? It does a bunch of other stuff to try to remove it first, like eating it or burning it out, but eventually, it doesn’t go anywhere and basically builds a fascial wall around it. When the body gets a little over zealous (or is it?), too much of this connective/scar tissue surrounds part of the implant and it causes pain and malformation of the tissue and the implant, which is called a contracture. Research varies and it depends on a lot of variables, but contracture rates are anywhere from 7 - 20%.

Prior to surgery (and applicable to nearly all surgeries in fact), see a professional for superficial fascial and myofascial release, as well as breast massage and rib mobility. Get on some Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls to help release the tissue to permit stretch, to increase nourishment to the tissues and to increase awareness of the area. This all increases tissue health and allows more expansion of the tissue, which could help reduce pain, improve recovery times, reduce scaring and potentially reduce the rejection of the implant (my theory, not a proven fact). Discuss each of these things with your doctor, as they may request a certain amount of time between your last treatment and your surgery, as manual therapy can temporarily increase inflammation.

Post surgery, with the go ahead from one’s surgeon, receiving massage and manual therapy with someone experienced and knowledgeable about breast enhancement could help recovery rates, decrease pain, improve position of the implants, help regain mobility and range of motion in the surrounding, affected joints (which is everything from your head to your toes, by the way), decrease swelling, and decrease the incidence of contracture. Rolling on a Roll Model® Method Coregeous ball post-surgery, with the surgeons okay, can also greatly improve tissue mobility.

When all is healed up, the ribs, spine, shoulders and collarbones should all be moving. The superifical fascia should have an adequate amount of elasticity to allow movement in the adjacent joints and by proxy have a healthy resting muscle tension in the affected muscles, as well as permit subtle movement of the breast for the most natural look. Breathing, spinal rotation, shoulder movement and posture should all be effortless after the surgery has healed. Manual therapy by an experienced and knowledgeable therapist at any point during the process, even years after surgery, can help improve mobility and increase comfort in your body.

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