Breast Reconstruction After Double Mastectomy

After having a double mastectomy 5 years ago I...

After having a double mastectomy 5 years ago I decided to have reconstruction. I wore prosethesis for all that time, and have grown tired of not being able to wear all the clothes I would like too....plus they are hot and I live in the South!

Since I am just in the beginning stage of this process, I can't really comment on the pros or cons. I just have a question about the placement of my expanders. They seem really high and I am hoping that someone that has been through this can share their experience.

I am in the process of breast reconstruction after double mastectomy (5 years). The tissue expanders were implanted about 3 weeks ago and I have been expanded 3 times (once in the hospital and twice in the office). I am concerned that the expanders are very high on my chest. I will probably have 2-3 more expansions to get me to a full b cup. I do not want my final breasts to be positioned this high.

Joseph Mota

I didn't feel he explained the extent of the process and what I would look like during the expansion procedure.

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Comments (7)

Hi there, I am also in the process of having my tissue expanders inflated. I have previously had breast implants but developed cancer to I can compare the expanders with normal breast implants with breast tissue. The expanders do sit quite high but so do breast implants often, and they do drop as the skin relaxes. My surgeon also tells me that she will improve the appearance when the exchange the expanders for the silicone implant. As the expanders are saline filled they feel very different from the permanent implant, they have hard edges and mine aren't a nice shape, but I know that eventually they will be replaced and will look far better and feel far better too! Don't worry, the final result will not be what you see now! Good luck.
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Do you have saline filled implants? If so, may be time to replace them with the very safer silicone gel implants. They are much more comfortable and natural looking and feeling. Talk to your surgeon about the alloderm to provide cushioning - works great. As far as the nipple and areola reconstruction goes: keep it simple. Doing grafts of skin from other areas of the body is expensive and has a high chance of infection and failure of the graft. To make the nipple, the surgeon creates one out of the skin on the breast. This is done after the implant surgery has healed. Tattooing by a specially trained nurse or permanent make-up specialist creates the final natural look. The tattoo process is painless and produces great results.
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I had a double mastectomy in 2005 and still have tissue expanders in place... though over time, they have deflated...between then and now I have tried s lot of things to compensate for my breasts (I constantly raid my mothers drawer of shoulder pads to stick into my bra, they are far more comfortable and not at all expensive) I wonder if there is a way to avoid capsular contraction by using a patients tissue or fat around the implant so that as it settles in, there is a surrounding cushion and less wrinkling...I wish you all well...I am hoping to be in the clear and able to start reconstruction soon...there needs to be more done to put a woman back together comfortably and without so many worries...if we can replace nearly everything else, why is it so difficult to replace a breast, or a set of them...including the nipples, you would think that if they are held in place by muscle, there would also be a way to add some form of tissue and a disolvable material that could be placed over the implant and stitched here and there that would enable tissue to grow over and around it and hold things in place better creating a more natural look and feel that would also prevent twisting and turning so that nipples could be added (female tissue...its already pink) after a period of healing time.
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That's like 7 years that you've had the expanders in? Are you sure you don't mean breast implants? The expanders are what expand the skin so that later on, the plastic surgeon can insert the implants. Also if you are having capsular contraction, the surgeon should be taking care of this for you. Talk to your doctor about alloderm. That is donated tissue and skin from cadavers. There are also textured implants that keep the implant in place.
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I had reconstruction with implants (mastectomy on one side only but small implant on other to achieve balanced appearance). After 4 years, and a few bumps in the road, I'm delighted with the results. Gravity continues to work so that implants that seem too high and firm to begin with do move into a more natural position. Silicone is heavier that our natural tissue so it takes some getting used to - also the lack of normal blood supply means that one's reconstructed breasts get very cold if one swims in a cool lake or swimming pool. I love the results and having a normal feel and appearance was well worth the minimal discomfort of recovering from the surgeries. Just remember to continue to massage the silicone gel implants to avoid capsular contraction (wrinkles are not cool). Good luck!
PS - I'm 67
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Hi. I was recently diagnosed with DCIS. The first surgeon I had was a male. I didn't care for his bedside manner, so I fired him. Now, I have a female surgeon who is very understanding. Eventually, I'm probably going to have to have a bilateral mastectomy, w/immediate reconstruction. I'm 62, I'm big busted and full figured. So, I'm a little concerned about how the reconstruction will look. If you're concerned or unhappy with how high the expanders look, why don't you bring this up to your doctor and ask him to set them lower? I wish you luck and hope you are happy with the outcome.
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It's me, 9282anon. I still haven't had the reconstructive surgery, because the DCIS hasn't come back for three years. As soon as it does, however I'll probably be having the bilateral mastectomy. My other concern would be how long does a woman have to wear the expanders for? I keep getting different answers on it. I'm a size 44DD now and if I have this done, I'd like to go down at least to 38DD or 40DD. I wonder just how long I'd have to wear the expanders for that size? I am now 65.
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