Prevention of capsular contracture with photochemical tissue passivation

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 Mar;133(3):571-577. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000438063.31043.79.


Background: Capsular contracture is the most common complication following the insertion of breast implants. Within a decade, half of patients will develop capsular contracture, leading to significant morbidity and need for reoperation. There is no preventative treatment available and the recurrence rate remains high. Photochemical tissue passivation is a novel tissue-stabilization technique that results in collagen cross-linking. It can rapidly link collagen fibers in situ, preserving normal tissue architecture. By using this therapy to passivate the collagenous tissues of the implant pocket, the authors hope to prevent the development of pathogenic collagen bundles and subsequent capsule contracture.

Methods: Six-cubic centimeter tissue expanders were placed below the panniculus carnosus muscle along the dorsum of New Zealand white rabbits. Fibrin glue was instilled into each implant pocket to induce contracture. Treated pockets received photochemical tissue passivation by coating them with a photosensitizing dye and exposing the area to a 532-nm light. After 8 weeks, capsule tissue was harvested for histologic evaluation.

Results: Implant capsule thickness is the number one prognostic factor for contracture development. The authors demonstrated a 52 percent decrease in capsule thickness in the passivated group compared with controls. Photochemical tissue passivation resulted in fewer fibrohistiocytic cells and macrophages and in reduced synovial metaplasia and smooth muscle actin deposition.

Conclusions: Photochemical tissue passivation significantly decreased both capsule thickness and smooth muscle actin deposition. It is a promising technique for preventing capsular contracture that can be performed at the time of initial surgery without a significant increase in procedure time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / drug effects*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Implant Capsular Contracture / etiology
  • Implant Capsular Contracture / pathology
  • Implant Capsular Contracture / prevention & control*
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / administration & dosage
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Tissue Expansion Devices / adverse effects*


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Collagen