, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 510-518
Date: 16 Nov 2005

Serologic and Histologic Findings in Patients with Capsular Contracture After Breast Augmentation with Smooth Silicone Gel Implants: Is Serum Hyaluronan a Potential Predictor?

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In this study, breast implant capsular tissues and blood samples from 25 cases were studied to characterize the relationship between capsular findings and serum analysis. The serum fibrosis indexes hyaluronan and the aminoterminal propeptide of procollagen type III (PIIINP) are fairly well correlated in several other studies with the inflammation grade and fibrosis in patients with progressive fibrotic disorders such as liver cirrhosis.


The study enrolled 25 female patients (average age, 40 ± 12 years) with capsular contracture after bilateral cosmetic breast augmentation using smooth silicone gel implants (Mentor). The implants were placed in a submuscular position through an incision in the inframammary fold. The implant removals were prompted by development of capsular fibrosis (Baker grades 1–4). Samples of capsular tissue were obtained from all the patients for standard histologic and immunohistochemical analyses. Blood samples were drawn from all the patients immediately before surgery. Sera from 20 healthy female patients (average age, 34 ± 9 years) who had undergone plastic surgery for reduction mammaplasty were used as controls.


Histology. Capsular tissue was significantly thicker in patients with grades 3 and 4 contracture than in women with grade 2 contracture according the classification by Baker. There was a moderate (n = 15) or severe (n = 10) chronic inflammatory reaction in the capsules around the implants. Fibroblasts and macrophages represented the major cell population found in the fibrous capsules. In addition, activated CD4+ cells were detected. An inner layer with synovia-like metaplasia and multinucleated giant cells was found. Fibroblast-like cells formed the most common cell type in the capsules, along with macrophages, scattered polymorphonuclear leukocytes, lymphocytes, plasma cells, and mast cells. Serum analysis. There was a significantly higher level (p < 0.05) of hyaluronan serum concentration in patients with capsular contracture (26 ± 14 μg/l) than in control subjects (12 ± 6 μg/l). There was a positive correlation between the grade of capsular contracture (Baker 1–4) and the hyaluronan serum concentration (Baker 1–2: 15 ± 3 μg/l; Baker 3–4: 35 ± 12 μg/l) (r 2 =0.73; p < 0.05).


: In this study, serum hyaluronan levels were significantly elevated in patients with constrictive fibrosis after breast augmentation, and there was a positive correlation with the stage of capsular contracture. Serum hyaluronan concentration may help in defining patients at risk for capsular fibrosis. If treatment with new drugs can be started as a preventive measure, it may be possible to reduce the rate of patients who require surgical intervention.