Biomaterial implants are an established part of medical practice, encompassing a broad range of devices that widely differ in function and structural composition. However, one common property amongst biomaterials is the induction of the foreign body response: an acute sterile inflammatory reaction which overlaps with tissue vascularisation and remodelling and ultimately fibrotic encapsulation of the biomaterial to prevent further interaction with host tissue. Severity and clinical manifestation of the biomaterial-induced foreign body response are different for each biomaterial, with cases of incompatibility often associated with loss of function. However, unravelling the mechanisms that progress to the formation of the fibrotic capsule highlights the tightly intertwined nature of immunological responses to a seemingly noncanonical "antigen." In this review, we detail the pathways associated with the foreign body response and describe possible mechanisms of immune involvement that can be targeted. We also discuss methods of modulating the immune response by altering the physiochemical surface properties of the biomaterial prior to implantation. Developments in these areas are reliant on reproducible and effective animal models and may allow a "combined" immunomodulatory approach of adapting surface properties of biomaterials, as well as treating key immune pathways to ultimately reduce the negative consequences of biomaterial implantation.