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

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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 11 reviews

Pain with expanders

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

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 Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 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.