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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Apr;117(4):1214-9; discussion 1220-1.

A rabbit model for capsular contracture: development and clinical implications.

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Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9132, USA.



Capsular contracture remains one of the most common complications involving aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery; however, its cause, prevention, and treatment remain to be fully elucidated. Presently, there is no accurate and reproducible pathologic in vitro or in vivo model examining capsular contracture. The purpose of this study was to establish an effective pathologic capsular contracture animal model that mimics the formation of capsular contracture response in humans.


New Zealand White rabbits (n = 32) were subdivided into experimental (n = 16) and control groups (n = 16). Each subgroup underwent placement of smooth saline mini implants (30 cc) beneath the panniculus carnosus in the dorsal region of the back. In addition, the experimental group underwent instillation of fibrin glue into the implant pocket as a capsular contracture-inducing agent. Rabbits were euthanized from 2 to 8 weeks after the procedure. Before the animals were euthanized, each implant was serially inflated with saline and a pressure-volume curve was developed using a Stryker device to assess the degree of contracture. Representative capsule samples were collected and histologically examined. Normal and contracted human capsular tissue samples were also collected from patients undergoing breast implant revision and replacement procedures. Tissue samples were assessed histologically.


Pressure-volume curves demonstrated a statistically significantly increased intracapsular pressure in the experimental group compared with the control group. The experimental subgroup had thicker, less transparent capsules than the control group. Histologic evaluation of the rabbit capsule was similar to that of the human capsule for the control and experimental subgroups.


The authors conclude that pathologic capsular contracture can be reliably induced in the rabbit. This animal model provides the framework for future investigations testing the effects of various systemic or local agents on reduction of capsular contracture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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