Things Your Plastic Surgeon May Forget to Tell You About Tissue Expanders

  • Phoenix
  • 1 year ago

I actually had a tissue expander due to an extreme size difference pre-breast augmentation surgery.  If I experienced all this, anyone who has had a mastectomy will experience x5 or x10.  I thought I was thorough and asked a ridiculous amount of questions but, my plastic surgeon has the attention span of a 2 year old and he missed a few things. 1.  I did not have to have a drain put in because I had breast tissue he was placing the expander under so the trauma was minimal.  The trauma is the reason for the drains and as your body 'gets used to it' and the swelling goes down, the drains will be removed. 2.  They aren't round like implants, they are crescent shaped and they make your breast look square.  If you have a choice, have the expander surgery around the fall when you can cover yourself with layers of clothes through the fall and winter. 3.  They hurt, plain and simple.  They are not soft like implants, they are 'hard' or strong to allow for expansion.  They will dig into you, you will have to sleep at an upwards angle and the only type of bra you can wear in an attempt to look normal is a bandeau type bra or a special post mastectomy bra but, from the ones I've seen, they might be questionable too. 4.  Filling the expander requires the surgeon to find a magnetic valve with another magnet and then sticking a needle through your breast into the valve and inserting the saline.  Oddly the breast is a bit numb so it doesn't hurt as bad a it could but, I hate needles so, it was bad enough. 5.  Be in no hurry when it comes to expansion.  It will hurt, the skin will be hard and it will take longer than you expected.  Post mastectomy surgery skin is thin and needs to have time to stretch and heal not hurry this!  I had a A cup worth of breast tissue over my expander and the process still took 7 months. Your desired post-augmentation size, skin health and general health will all be determining factors. 6.  You will experience bouts of numbness, shooting pains and general soreness.  Other times you will be fine, talk to your surgeon if you have concerns but most of it unfortunately, is normal. 7.  Your surgeon will do his best to make the breast look good post breast implants but, your body was forever altered so getting the implant(s) to match the other or look like your breasts before is near impossible so, expect to look different (a new version of you). Hope this helps those of you out there currently going through all this and I wish you the best of luck...just remember to let yourself heal, everything is a long process but in the long run, it's worth it.

Comments (2)

hi, i am sorry you are having such an awful time with your expanders. i too had a double mastemecty with expanders. i had the drains put in for a week or so with no problems, pulling out was painless and the weekly "fills" of saline was not painful to me at all. except for sticking the needle into the port on the under side of each breast which was a small pinch and it was over. i was scheduled to go for reconstruction surgery last month and whhen i got to the surgery center they checked my blood sugar and it was quite high so i was sent home and now on diabetes meds and my internist wants me to wait till june to make sure it stays down(which i think is crazy since it is down now, and they are not the ones walking around with expanders) I just want it over with. The only problem i do have is one side got a condition that formed scar tissue and is "hard as a rock" like you mentioned and the other side seems like its begining to sag a little. I actually like the look of the hard sided because it doesnt sag but the doctor said they will look better when the real ones are put in. also i am debating about going for the nipples (more surgery 4 months later, have to wait to let the implants "settle"). i wont have sensation in them, i am 62 yrs old and a widow and dont expect to have a boyfriend at this point(just not interested any more and happy by my self) it doesnt bother me looking at them as long as they dont sag!!! AND can go braless which i LOVE because there is no "fat back" from the bra in the back !! (nice smooth lines,lol.)I wrote this because not everyone has the bad experience you did, i didnt and i just wanted others not to be scared of the proceedure, i will be fine, keep a positive outlook on my life, and hope for the best. sincerely, Rho.... best of luck girls, you'll do fine, i promise !!!
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Thank you for your most excellent and thorough story. Many women will appreciate and benefit from your detailed information. I hope you are pleased with your deserve it!

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