WHAT IS CAPSULAR CONTRACTURE?
Capsular Contracture occurs when fibrous scar tissue forms around a breast implant, creating a capsule. The body forms protective capsules around any object it recognizes as foreign, so this is considered a natural process. But sometimes a tissue capsule forms that is unusually hard and dense. The capsule tightens around and squeezes the implant, and can cause chronic pain. The shape of the breast can also be distorted and often the breast rises higher on the chest, as seen in the example below.
HOW CAN LOW LEVEL LASER HELP?
Low Level Laser Therapy or Photobiomodulation Therapy softens the capsule, allowing the contraction to relax. This relaxation allows the breast to return to a more natural position, closely aligning with the other breast. But best of all, the LLLT or PMB Therapy decreases or completely eliminates pain, as inflammation is reduced.
INFLAMMATION REDUCTION – A BRIEF EXPLANATION
One of the major effects of light when absorbed by our bodies, is on the mitochondria, the power source inside our cells. When cells are stressed through injury or damage, the mitochondria produce nitric oxide (a toxic chemical), which in turn reduces oxygen production, significantly lowering cell energy and leading to a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress then creates a state of inflammation and cell death. LLLT or PMB Therapy dissociates the nitric oxide allowing oxygen back into the cell, so the energy level of the cell is restored and oxidative stress is reduced. Once normal mitochondrial function is re-established through LLLT, cell function improves, pain reduces and the patient begins to feel better.
Treatment of Capsular Contracture with Low Level Laser Therapy
William L. Scarlett, D.O., FACS, FACOS, FAACS Associate Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery PCOM, Philadelphia PA. Director of Bucks County Aesthetic Center Bensalem, PA
Following is a summary of a presentation made by Dr Scarlett.
Patients underwent laser treatments once a week for a period of six weeks. They received 10 minute treatment using the 904nm laser. This was a 2cm square grid pattern with one minute of treatment in each area. (300 mJ/ 1 min treatment = 4.5 Joules/cm2).
• 23 patients, 8 of which had previous radiation
• Surgical intervention was avoided in 91.3% of patients with grade III/IV capsular contraction.
• Of the patients who avoided surgery, the laser improved the stiffness of the breast by 10‐95% with an average of 50.2%.
• The overall improvement in comfort for these patients ranged from 10‐95% with an average of 52.1%.
• LLLT is a promising alternative treatment for grades III & IV capsular contracture.
• In the majority of cases, both patients and surgeon observed significant tissue softening and improved breast contour after treatment with the LTU‐904 laser.
• Factors to incorporate in subsequent studies to confirm validity of this pilot study: evaluation of current treatment protocol, randomized blinded study, larger patient population, objective measurement of the breast tissue changes and comparison to other non‐invasive treatment methods.
After having experienced several months of significant and increasing swelling in my left breast as a result of acute (grade 4) capsular contracture, I underwent an MRI and was subsequently informed by a qualified plastic surgeon that my only option to rectify the capsular contracture was to have my implants removed through mastopexy surgery, which would have involved significant vertical scarring and several months of post-op recovery time.
In my attempt to find a less invasive alternative to surgery, I stumbled upon cold laser therapy as potential option, noting that some studies into the effectiveness of this treatment upon capsular contracture had been conducted in the US.
I was pleased to find a nearby cold laser clinic in Walkerville – Cold Laser Pain Relief – which was happy to assist me with the required treatment. I first attended the clinic for a consult and subsequently underwent a thermal imaging scan, which highlighted clearly the tension areas in my left breast in comparison to the right.
Following this initial appointment, I underwent 8 weeks of treatment, at one session per week. I was thrilled to find a noticeable reduction in swelling and firmness to my breast after even the very first session of treatment! After the initial 8 weeks, I was so happy with the results that I extended my treatment for another 8 weeks in order to continue the results and am now pleased to say that I am no longer experiencing ANY discomfort with my left breast, and that the swelling has gone and the firmness has reduced to what would be described as a level 1 contracture, being much more fibrous and softer to touch. I no longer require any form of corrective surgery!
The staff at Cold Laser Pain Relief have been incredibly helpful and pleasant all throughout my treatment and I would highly recommend Cold Laser Pain Relief to anyone who has similar issues with capsular contracture, both as a preventative measure and a corrective alternate to surgery.