How Long Can Tissue Expanders Remain in Safely?

I am currently active duty in the Army and being treated for tuberous breast. Have completed the expansion process and just in the waiting period before implants are placed. Just found out my unit is deploying. Not sure if I will be cleared to deploy, but wanted to know how long tissue expanders can remain in safely?

Doctor Answers 4


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They can stay in for a fair amount of time and act like saline implants.  There's always a risk of implant/ expander rupture, but it's important to discuss with your plastic surgeon your plans.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


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Although expanders are technically temporary implant devices, there is nothing wrong with leaving your implants in for several months/years.   The next opportunity you have to have your 2nd stage procedure will be fine.  Be safe on your next deployment.  Thank you for your service to our nation.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Length of time a Tissue Expander can Remain

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Tissue Expanders can be left in for long periods of time if this is your only option. Best scenario would be to have it replaced before hand and delay your deployment for medical reasons if that is reasonable for you.

How long can expanders remain in place?

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Expanders are not meant to be permanent devices, but having said that, they can remain in place for several years if need be. However, the longer they remain in place, the higher the risk of rupture and deflation. If your expanders deflate, they may need to be replaced if you have significant contraction of the tissues before the implants can be placed. You also want to avoid getting an MRI while the expanders are in place as they contain a magnet. Speak to you doctor. If you are done with your expansion, you may be able to have your implants placed before you deploy.

M. Susann Bedford, MD
Atlanta 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.