Is It Normal to Have Pain After Double Masectomy Expansions?

Had double mastectomy 3 wks. Ago had expansions put in was expanded on Monday have pain is it normal? I had cancer in both breasts am 41 yrs. Old & scared to death. 14 lymph nodes removed 12 malignant. Need to know

Doctor Answers 13

Pain after tissue expansion is normal

Pain subsequent to inflating your tissue expanders is quite common though the degree varies among patients. It is further affected by how much/how fast that they are inflated. It may be that your plastic surgeon needs to inflate you more slowly to help make this a more tolerable experience.

Good luck!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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Expanders and pain

There is always a bit of pain when tissue expanders are inflated. This stretches the skin and can be uncomfortable. It should get better in a few days.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Issue Expanders do cause discomfort during the expansion process.

Unfortunately the symptoms that you are experiencing are quite common. There are alot  factors which may influence the amount or characteristics of pain/discomfort you may be experiencing. The amount of time between the mastectomy procedure and the initial expansion may be one of them. Also, The amount of fluid related to that expansion may also determine if and how much discomfort you may be experiencing.

This is also related to the mastectomy procedure itself and the inflamation and swelling associated with that procedure. Imagine having a sprained ankle and then being asked to stand on your tiptoes. As the swelling decreases, so does the discomfort.

There are however things to watch for such as infection , which is usually identified with redness and fever. There may also be retained fluids and possible old blood which may be contributing factors. Your Doctor must evaluate you for these as possibilities.

Nick Masri, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Pain after expander placement

This is normal and you should not worry about it.The pain is due to the expansion and how much fluid was injected.Some people have to go slower with the expansion.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Pain with expansion.

The pain from tissue expansion is often analogous to the soreness one feels after pulling a muscle or lifting weights. This discomfort usually sets in the day after expansion and can last a few days to a week. If your pain was too much, your plastic surgeon can remove fluid from the expander and use less fluid with expansions to decrease your discomfort.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

The expansion experience

Expansion of your tissue expanders can create some discomfort for a few days after each expansion process.  Make sure your surgeon provides you with some pain medications of his/her recommendation.  The discomfort should subside in a few days.  

Pain after tissue expansion

sorry to hear of your discomfort.  Unfortunately, pain after tissue expansion can occur, especially during the first few expansions.   It is important to communicate your pain issues to your surgeon, as it may be necessary to remove a little fluid from your expanders to ease your pain.  I always tell my patients that everyone responds differently to tissue expansion,  and I want them to let me know of any discomfort, such that i can find the right volume and rate of expansion for them.   Anytime a patient describes pain in the early postoperative period, I also want to rule out any infection, fluid collection, or wound healing problem.  I hope this helps and I wish you a safe recovery.


Paul S. GIll, M.D.

Gill Plastic Surgery

Houston Double Board Certiified Plastic Surgeon

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Mastectomy expanders

Yes, pain is very normal after expansion, especially the first few expansions and the last few expansions. Patients are always in a hurry, but remember that breast reconstruction is a marathon and not a sprint. Give yourself a week off during your expansion process if you need to.

Jack Peterson, MD
Topeka Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

A Moderate Degree of Pain Often Accompanies Tissue Expansion

Sorry to hear you are uncomfortable. Some pain and soreness normally accompanies the tissue expansion process. This is because the tissue expander is stretching out your muscle and your skin. If the pan is severe, worsening, associated with swelling, bruising or signs of infection such as fever or redness, you should let your doctor know right away. Furthermore, there is no harm in discussing exactly how you feel with your surgeon; in this way you can be reassured that nothing is overlooked.

Pain after Tissue expansion in Double Mastectomy

It is not unusual to have discomfort and tightness after expanding tissue expanders in breast reconstruction.  IF you feel the pain is very significant , you should let your doctor know to rule out other problems. 

Stephen Delia, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.