Breathless w/ Tissue Expander - Normal?

i have just been fitted with a tissue expander and i am really breathless and am restricted as to what i can do, is this normal? and what causes it?

Doctor Answers 7

Shortness of breath after reconstruction not normal

This is NOT normal.   Shortness of breath after any surgery could suggest several problems that may not be associated with your tissue expander implant.   Given that you are a cancer patient and have undergone surgery, I would be concerned with a possible blood clot (DVT) or a blood clot in your lungs (PE).  I recommend you seek immediate medical attention or go to your nearest emergency room. 

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Discomfort after breast tissue expanders

Unfortunately, significant discomfort frequently occurs following tissue expanders, especially if a high volume is initially placed.  If your symptoms are severe, they may be related to a blood clot, or other systemic problem.  More commonly, you are just experiencing the pressure against your chest, and perhaps having your surgeon take some saline out may help.  Sometimes, an anti anxiety medication can help, such as valium.  Your doctor should be making these decisions for you.  I recommend you go see him/her to rule out any life threatening issue.

Michael Orseck, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Breathless with tissue expander

Please contact your surgeon immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. This is not normal.

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Breathless after tissue expander

Shortness of breath after surgery always needs to be addressed and worked up by your physician. Some women do experience a feeling of tightness with deep breaths due to the weight the expander. You should see your surgeon asap.

Nia Banks, MD, PhD
Washington Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Breathlessness after surgery

This is NOT NORMAL and may indicate a life and death problem. If you haven’t already done so after reading the previous posts, go immediately to your doctor’s office (if still open, call first) or the emergency room. The emergency room should treat this as a real emergency and have you evaluated immediately.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breathless w/ Tissue Expander - Normal?

I possibly agree with the previous expert poster. "Breathlessness" is a real medical issue, while slight shortness of breathe is your reacting to the expander. Just to be safe, seek medical attention nOW! From MIAMI 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews


No this not normal.

See your doctor immediately. Or have your medical doctor see you immediately

Or the emergency room to be fully evaluated for blood clots and pneumothorax

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.