Tissue Expanders After Mastectomy?

I had dcis in one breast and a bilateral mastectomy 4 weeks ago. The P.S. has put in about 100 cc of saline so far. I am having lots of pain from the expanders. It feels like it is cutting into my muscles each time I move my arms to the right or left. I have always been in good shape and just expected to feel the saline pain not so much pain from the expanders into my muscles, I can't find any info on this. Will this pain continue and are the implants going to feel the same?

Doctor Answers 3

Tissue Expanders After Mastectomy #breastcancer

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

Thank you for your question. I have a passion for breast reconstruction and I do a lot of it. I can tell you that your complaints are pretty mainstream. Remember, expanders serve one purpose only, and that is to stretch the skin. They are not supposed to look or even feel good. You also happen to be very early in the process. The acute pain will get better but likely you will have some aches and pains here and there for the duration of the time you have the expanders. Remember, you had a mastectomy and not only do you have a hard new implant under the muscle, you also have new scar tissue forming from the two surgeries you had, mastectomy and reconstruction. I have found that my patients pain is much improved when I send them for physical therapy and myofascial tissue release about a month after the expander placement. It can really help with range of motion and with softening of all of this new scar formation. Ask your surgeon to help you with this. So, for now you are experiencing exactly what you should at this stage. It will get better. And no, your silicone implants will not feel like the expanders. They will be way better. Hang in there and be strong! You can get through this. Fight, fight, fight!!!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Breast Pain after reconstruction

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

Four weeks out it is not unusual to still have some pain.  If you had a small, narrow chest, the expanders can be painful for a while.  You should discuss with your surgeons your ongoing concerns.  Sometimes, over the counter anit-inflammatories can be helpful if used daily for a period of time.  Post-op physical therapy can be amazingly helpful to help your body regain proper posture and range of motion as this can all be upset by a mastectomy.  Muscle relaxers also can be of some use short term.  Please discuss these concerns and options with your surgeon and I hope you feel better soon.

Tissue expanders and pain

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

Some pain is normal after the expanders are inflated.  This is pretty common. If it is more pain than can be tolerated, then I suggest you get an evaluation with your surgeon.  Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.