Things Your Plastic Surgeon May Forget to Tell You About Tissue Expanders
Byon 15 Mar 2013
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 properly...do 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.