My body rejected a breast expander. It was removed. Is it OK to proceed with an implant in 3 months without re-expanding?

I had breast cancer. I had 4 months of chemo. On may 6, 2016, I had a double mastectomy. I had expanders put in at that time. I had each side expanded to 400 cc's. The expansion goal was 500cc's. Due to an infection, my left expander had to be removed. My Dr wants to wait 3 months and then proceed with reconstruction. He plans to bypass the expander and go straight to putting in the 500cc implants. I can't find any research proceeding straight to implants without re-expanding first.

Doctor Answers 2

Breast reconstruction using your own tissue (Tummy tuck breast reconstruction)

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Dear dshawranch:

Since you have already experienced a problem with implants, you may want to consider autologous reconstruction for bilateral breast reconstruction. Many women prefer to utilize their own excess skin and fat on their tummy (essentially using excess tissue that would be thrown away in a cosmetic tummy tuck) with a procedure called a DIEP free flap (tummy tuck breast reconstruction). In this procedure, we move healthy tissue with its own bloody supply and healing potential to restore the chest wall and breast after cancer treatment. Autologous (using your own tissue ) reconstruction is especially powerful after radiation therapy if you will need it. Autologous reconstruction helps to restore a soft supple breast using your own tissue. Please see a board certified plastic surgeon who is well versed with autologous reconstruction to learn more about your options.

Dr. Basu
Houston, TX

Breast expander

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Pictures are needed to fully comment but if the expander has been removed on one side that tissue will shrink and will be hard to accept a 500 cc implant.  Also, symmetry will be very difficult to attain if you have one area expanded and the other not expanded.  You may want to consider autologous tissue like a DIEP flap since you have already failed expander/implant reconstruction due to an infection.  Best wishes. 

Jules Walters, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 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.