I received an email recently from a patient who wanted to know if I used a laser to separate the muscle off of the chest for breast augmentation surgery. Questions like this one come from patients who read things on the Internet and are swayed by what they read.
The word ‘laser’ has been a buzzword in medicine and particularly plastic surgery for many years. Lasers work by emitting an intense beam of light of a single wavelength. When they hit their target, the light energy is absorbed and converted to heat, generally destroying the tissue that absorbs it. This can be bad as well as good because the heat can damage unwanted tissue, but causes swelling and pain. It is completely false that lasers do not cause pain or that they speed up healing with surgery. Lasers in plastic surgery are good for tattoo removal, skin resurfacing and hair removal.
Using a laser for elevating the pectoralis muscle with breast augmentation offers no advantage over standard electrocautery and has several disadvantages including potential increase in cost, infection, swelling, pain and bleeding.
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