Pain from breast reconstruction tissue expanders?

  • 4 years ago

View 26 doctor answers to Do Breast Reconstruction Tissue Expanders Cause Pain As They Expand?

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Hi - I had diep flap surgery and one breast took while the other did not. So I now have 1 breast with a diep flap and the other with an implant. I am not happy with the size and shape of the side with the implant. Has anyone else had reconstructive surgery where they have an implant in only one breast? If so, are you happy with the results? Also, I have a saline round implant and I am wondering if this is why I am not happy with the size and shape. For those of you who have implants what made you decide to have saline over silicone? If you have silicone are you happy, unhappy with the results? Please help as I am seeing my surgeon within the next few weeks and would like to discuss this with him further.
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I would like to know if it has taken anyone else four years and more to have their reconstruction done??!! Ihad a bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in August 2010. Because of the implant on the right side being compromised, in October 2010 it was removed (debridement). I had to wait until November 2011 to have the expander put in. After months of excruciating pain due to fills (I can't take pain meds), the PS exchanged the expander for an implant and exchanged the left implant for the correct size that wasn't put in initially in March 2013. This past May 2014 he did a (L) nipple-graft because it was too low on the breast, and a correction on the right side where they left a long role of skin last year. Now I have a Frankenstein-zipper that goes all the way to the back, and a teensy bit more definition on the right side, but that breast still looks smaller than the left side. The nipple survived, even after I had the shingles and a skin infection post-op, whoopeee. He says we're looking at about two more years before we're done. I find this all very depressing. Initially, I was told it would take eight weeks altogether. He says it is for just the mastectomy but not for reconstruction. I can't go get a second opinion because I am getting this done through the VA and we don't have any other insurance. Has anyone else had to go through this?
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I would like to say thank to all of the ladies for the positive words and giving us all a look into your stories. I'm only 31 and I've had a double masectomy with immediate reconstruction May 15th. I start Chemo June 23rd, yesterday my PS filled me 120cc each side thankfully I'm not in much pain. Reading your comments have helped me, I was scared that going through with chemo would take me away from my day to day activities and my 7yr old daughter who is my biggest supporter being that I'm a single parent and no family support system through all of this and struggling to get myself to and from Dr appointments. Sorry for ranting again thank you all and please keep up the positive and encouraging words.
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Hello everyone I would like to know has anyone gone through chemo or is going to start while having the expanders and have them fill in...I start chemo march 5 and my surgeon wants to see me on the 6 for my fills..
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Hi everyone I had my surgery done on feb 4, 2014 got my expanders put it is been uncomfortable but manage to deal with it...my question is I start my chemo next week march 5 and the day after my surgeon wants to fill them in I don't know if is a good idea cause I will be on treatment is there anyone going through this is it okay to do fill in my expanders while on chemo..
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Nolan I think ur doctor is the best person to ask... Fills r a bit painfull ,,if they fill u bit by bit it's not so bad sleeping with them is difficult ,,please consult with ur doc for that peace of advice, cause chemo is involved .My secret was because I wanted the filling process to go fast I was taking pain meds before fill to fill to the max so I can get it over with quicker.. But because chemo is involved please consult with ur dct ,and if u do decide to go ahead with the fills we r here for u for support.... I wish u good luck with chemo ...I will pray that all will go fine ..
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Thank you Debbie Im just concerned about the fills and then chemo I know I will be drained tired and with that pain I don't know if I want to go and start doing the fills on my expanders I suppose to start chemo march 5 and go see my surgeon on the 6 is kind of to soon...but I will discuss this with my surgeon before I decide to do anything...Thank you and god bless..
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Remember one thing everyone is different I went through chemo very very well I gained 40 lbs cause of all the pre chemo meds ,I was always hungry..but extremely tired ,,no matter how tired u feel u hv to motivate urself to go on ,walk light exercise ,yoga,whatever makes u happy and keeps u moving baby steps whatever u can handle ..good luck,, my prayers r with u ... Oh ya and to make u laugh during radiation I went out dancing every weekend .. :-)
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Debbie you so funny you did make me laugh about going out dancing every weekend....Love happy people Im the same way love to make people laugh....
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And to add to that my chemo finished august 2 and august 7 th on the plane to Cuba with my girlfriends.....LIVE LOVE LAUGH !!!
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Oh wow you awesome...exactly live love laugh!!!
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Amazing!! :-D
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Were you able to tolerate getting your expanders in post chemo treatment? Thinking of you and hoping you're okay.
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Am sorry I took so long to keep in touch with my sisterhood, but I had a horrible recovery .. Though I am considering expressing my whole experience but do the the overdose of meds my brain is fuzzy and very difficult to concentrate.. My intention is to write my breast cancer story cause it's a great feeling not know u r alone and we can help each other through this emotional and physical difficult time. When it all started with me 4/12 yrs ago..i felt alone I needed this support and I couldn't find someone to talk to ..am soo glad I came across this realself support group.. Ans thank u for asking I am starting to feel a bit better..:-)
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Hi everyone just had my first chemo done on march 5, and my feuslata shot the next day with my fillings in my expander and honestly went home felt tired I slept the next day I woke up good no side effects then as days when by just had headaches a lil uncomfortable sleeping because of my fillings on my expanders but a couple days later I finally slept on my side how exciting...lol....well ladies I still haven't that much side effects I did had diarrhea and maybe a lil pain in my body but took advil and it went away...My next chemo will be march 19, and my feuslata shot on the 20 let see how that goes....I keep myself very positive and I don't let it get to me I keep doing my normal activites.I workout just finish doing kickboxing when food shopping and I attend to my 4 year old daughter...LADIES!!! keep the faith god is good...:)
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Hi Debby hope you feeling better on your recovery...to be honest my recovery went very well just stay positive and have faith god will put you through....god bless you...
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I am sooooooooo happy everything went well for u BRAVO !!! That goes to show us that not everyone is the same ... Keep up the good work girl !!!
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Yes Debby you right not everyone is the same...but who knows I just pray and stay positive....girl you do the same...xoxxoxo.
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I had my surgery double mastectomy on Feb 4,2014 also. It was a 15 hour surgery because the DIEP did take. I will know today about chemo. My breasts are rock hard with the expanders in place! I get a fill later today. Suggestion, don't fill more than 50 cc's at a time in each breast! Take care
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It did not work! That's what I meant to say! I have expanders in place! They are uncomfortable for me. Looking forward to the day they are removed!
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That's very encouraging for the rest of us, thank you for sharing. Trying to stay positive too. Praying for each of you here. If you are not happy with how things are, don't be afraid to get a 2nd opinion or even a 3rd! It's your body and you need to feel confident in the team of doctors you are using. The 1st Oncologist I saw was so vague with his answers, so I am seeing another one today . You have a small window of time after surgery to begin Chemo, so be sure to ask about that. Having a Bone Density test before starting Hormonal Therapy is advisable by any good Oncologist! Take care
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Hi lauri I had my surgery done the same day as you but mine was 8 hrs a double mastectomy port put in..Im already going on my third treatment of chemo next wed..thank god everything is been going well no side effects just lite headaches I shaved my hair off so I wont have to deal with it failing off....My first time doing the fillings on my expanders I had my plastic surgeon put in 120cc on both but this second time I only had 60cc on both to uncomfortable the first time..lauri I don't put mine to anything I just take it day by day and I always stay positive I do my regular activities workout do chores take care of my daughter and if Im tired I'll rest but I thank the lord that everything hasn't been so bad....Stay positive lauri we will be fine!!!
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I salute your positiveness , honestly I also had a tummy tuck ( because of the Diep) So I think this has a lot to do with my taking so long to rebound. Saw Oncologist today and he is doing one more test that will confirm if I need Chemo or not! I am ER+ PR + , Her - so I am doing a bone density test tomorrow to determine if I can take Aromatase Inhibitors! What a roller coaster ride this is! Stay strong. I'm here for you
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The support on this forum is amazing. My mom is a 9 year breast cancer survivor and there really was nothing like this on the internet when she was going through her reconstruction. 

I've sent many of you personal messages requesting you share your experience in a review. Your knowledge and individual story can continue to be a wonderful resource for many women in the future. Thank you for your wonderful gift of sharing.
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Well, it's been nearly a year since the exchange on the right (expander for implant) and the exchange on the left (too small implant for correct size). On the left side, the only issue is where the nipple is. It's too far down. PS is saying he has to graft it upwards. Panic!! This had been a bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in Aug 2010!! The right one died, contaminated the implant. It had to be removed. I had to wait a very painful year for the expander (skin on bone). The expansion process was at times excruciating. I opted for lesser fill amounts. Finally, March 18, 2013, the exchange. I know both sides are the same amount but the right looks smaller and is still further up. Every time I yawn the right side of my chest pulls. I have a horizontal scar across most of the "breast" that looks hideous and puckers to underneath my armpit. And pain, pain, pain! My PS says sometimes a nreve grows back. Tried giving me a cortizone shot which lessened the pain for about three days. His Nurse Practitioner suugested alternating ibuprofen and Aleve. My Primary Care Provider, a Nurse Practitioner, put me on Neurontin (Gabapentin) and that helps to a large extent. Why couldn't the "professionals" think of that?? And always always I feel like "my bra is too tight." I try to feel grateful but it's been 3 1/2 years. At this rate I'll be retired and then I think, what is the point? So I have put on quite a bit of weight (largely related to meds, partially due to snacking) and just feeling generally depressed. Can't seem to get my point across to PS. Husband thinks it will take more time. Seriously?! Thx for letting me vent. Feeling very discouraged.
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