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

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.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 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 25 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.  

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 209 reviews

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 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 17 reviews

Pain normal after expansion

Sorry to hear about your surgery but hope you are on the mend at this time and for a good prognosis.  The pain is very normal for several days after expansion.  You are taking muscle and stretching it beyond where it is supposed to be.  IF you are having a lot of pain that doesn't seem to be getting better after 3-4 days, call your doctor.  He may have you come in to take out some fluid to make you more comfortable.  Good luck.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Breast cancer

Tissue expansion after mastectomy is required to gain some skin that was removed during the mastectomy. If the mastectomy did not leave enough skin as in SKIN SPARING MASTECTOMY.

Yes it can be paifull with tissue expansion, however during the expansion if you start feeling pain tell your surgeon and he/she will stop further expansion.

See your surgeon ASAP to make sure there is no other cause of pain as in infection.

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.