I have a tissue expander and have considerable discomfort when changing position. Is this normal?

I had a skin sparing mastectomy. This especially occurs when lying on back to sitting or standing and the expander moves. is this discomfort likely to continue until replacement with implants?

Doctor Answers 2

Pain with expanders

Some of my patients do state that the more rigid edges of the expanders can cause pain, especially as they are filled further. These same patients after replacement of their expanders with implants have said that the pain improves. There is no guarantee your pain will go away after your implant exchange but there is a good possibility. 

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Pain with expanders

Unfortunately, the expanders can be painful and cause discomfort when moving or lying flat, as I have had described to me as well by my breast reconstruction patients.  This usually gets better by about 4 weeks out from surgery, but tends to be sore again after each fill.  The expanders are much more firm than what the permanent implant will be, and they are indeed, serving a purpose.  At the initial surgery, I do a lot of things to try to close down the pocket and also secure the expander in place with sutures, so I think these things also contribute to this tight feeling.  Hopefully it will all get better, but I also encourage you to talk to your PS so he/she is aware.

Cain R. Linville, MD
Houston Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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