How long is can expander stay in without being filled; keep having other medical issues that put reconstructive plans on hold?

Dx w invasive ductal ca stg 3 I opted for double mastectomy..found to have lymph node involvement expander was not put in affected side r/t need radiation and lymph dissection. Chemo, radiation, herceptin now done but other medical issues keep getting in the has now been almost 20 months w one expander in unaffected side..again with additional seizure ssues I had to delay expander implant on affected side again. Should I just have unaffected side removed,

Doctor Answers 2

How long can a tissue expander remain

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As long as there are no issues with the tissue expander, it may remain in place. It should cause you no issues. Wishing you the best in your treatments!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Reconstruction

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Your concerns and questions are very important. Without knowing all your medical history and causes that delays your reconstruction, it is very difficult to answer your questions. To answer your questions one needs a complete history, examination, and review of the surgeries you had.

Provided there is no contra indications to having a tissue expander, the expander can stay for long time. It may deflate, get infection.

I suggest you discuss this with your plastic surgeon and other specialists involved in your care, and have a long discussion with your plastic surgeon about your concerns. You can decide to remove the expander till you are ready for your final reconstruction, Since you had radiation on one side, that side is better reconstructed with a flap reconstruction and may want to do the type of reconstruction on both sides to have better symmetry.

I wish you the best, and faster recovery

Samir Shureih MD. FACS

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.