I am having my expanders taken out. How does that work?

I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. they were thinking I would not need radiation but after surgery they decided I did need radiation. Had a CT scan so the radiologist could get an idea of what was needed . He called and said there was not a clear line of site to do radiation without removing the expanders. How is this done and how long will the healing take before they can do radiation? Should I do reconstruction or will I be able to do reconstruction after radiation. .

Doctor Answers 2

XRT and expanders

It is uncommon to need expander removal for radiation therapy after mastectomy.  I would strongly recommend meeting with a second radiation oncologist prior to making this decision.  Usually XRT can be done with implants/expanders in place, and rarely deflation of the expander during therapy would be needed. 

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
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Expanders and radiation

It would be worthwhile to ask your plastic surgeon to talk to the radiation oncologist. Most times, the radiation can be done with expanders in, but occasionally they may interfere with setting up the radiation tangents. If that is the case, it may be possible for your surgeon to temporarily deflate your expanders, then re-inflate once radiation is complete.

It can be difficult to go back after radiation and place new expanders - in that case sometimes it's better to do flap reconstruction.

If you can avoid taking out the expanders and instead have them deflated or partially deflated, this would probably be simpler and may preserve more options for you in the future.
Best wishes-

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