My expander has a leak. Does it need to be replaced? My surgeon says no. (Photo)

Bilateral mastectomy in June 2016. Radiation on the left breast and tissue expanders at time of mastectomy. I clearly have a leak in my right tissue expander. It is about half the size of the radiated left breast, and has at least 300cc more saline fill. Surgeon says no, just keep coming for fills to keep the pocket open for six months until it's time for implants. Should my expander be replaced or is it acceptable to just put in 100cc every two weeks and leave it much smaller than the other?

Doctor Answers 3

Leak Tissue Expander

Thanks for your question. In case of tissue expander leaking, I would not recommend you keep filling it because your tissue is now too thin. You would better leave it this way for about 6-12 months. This will allow your radiated tissue to rest and get ready before another surgery.

Leaking Expander

It depends. If the expander has a large whole and it leaks fast then it will be hard to see that space open. If it is leaking slow and the pocket is being held open then sure it can be left alone. It is hard to tell but your surgeon may feel there is enough space to get the implant they want in the pocket regardless so you may not need it replaced. It's really a call made by your surgeon. I have had similar cases and not replaced it and have had cases I did need to replace it. 

Sincerely,

DrRickAZ

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Deflated tissue expander

If one side is deflating, it can never be expanded adequately to get a decent size implant in there. I can't see how this isn't a problem. You need it replaced, which is a pretty simple procedure.

Lisa Cassileth, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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