After a Mastectomy and Tissue Expansion, How Long Before the Final Implants Are Put In?

After a Mastectomy and Tissue Expansion, How Long Before the Final Implants Are Put In?

Doctor Answers 3

Time before implant exchange

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The answer to your question depends on multiple factors including but not limited to:  1) your desired volume goals, 2) how fast expansion is completed, 3) steps required for your cancer treatment (ie is chemo required? or radiation therapy required), etc.  Please talk to your reconstructive plastic surgeon who will have the best handle on this matters.  Best of luck.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Exchanging Tissue Expander for Implants in Breast Reconstruction post Mastectomy

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This depends on several factors: 1) Generally, the implant exchange is done after all the cancer treatment (if any) is completed. For instance, chemotherapy and/or radiation. In both of these cases time for recovery is factored in (6 weeks or so post chemo and 3-6 months post radiation). 2) Patient's desire for size: the patient will undergo several expansions until they are at a size close to their desired volume. 3) Patient anatomy: sometimes the patient will have expanded to the point that their body will put a limit on expansion...they will have a tightened skin envelope that will resist further stretching in which case a larger volume will not be advisable (if the patient wishes an implant size that exceeds the reasonable stretch ability of the skin then supplementing volume with tissue from the back or tummy is possible).

John Y.S. Kim, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Timing of exchange to implants

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Thank you for your question. There is no universal agreement on when to remove the expanders and replace them with implants. Some plastic surgeons do the surgery within six months of completion of expansion and some wait for more than six months. It also depends on whether you had radiations therapy. You need to discuss this question with you plastic surgeon.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

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