What is a Typical Timeframe To Keep in Tissue Expanders After Final Fill?

how long should tissue expander stay after final fill? I had my last fill on Feb 15 and now 370cc,I feel that my PS is in a hurry for the expander-silicon exchange because he is scheduling me for surgery next week..Is that too soon? His reasons is that I have capsular contraction. But in reality it's not actually causing me discomfort. Can I still delay for at least 2-3 more months?

Doctor Answers 5

Timeline for expanders

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Many plastic surgeons differ somewhat on their tissue expander timeline for breast reconstruction.  Most agree that the expanders do need to be in place for somewhere between 3-6 months before being removed for the second stage procedure to place permanent implants.  There is no absolutely correct answer to your question.  Surgeons work off the timeline they feel most comfortable with.  For myself, I keep the tissue expanders in place for a minimum of 4 months total and 3-4 weeks following the last expansion in general.  However, I have many patients go through chemotherapy at some point and we delay things while their immune systems are so fragile.  So, it is not uncommon for me to be performing the second stage procedure 6 months or so after the first.  It can even be put off longer if the patient desires.  It sounds like your plastic surgeon may have a reason for his game plan.  If you wish to delay it, call his office to discuss it further and find out more about the rationale.  You guys may be able to reach a compromise on the timing.

When to exchange tissue expanders for final implant

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There is no set time on when to exchange tissue expanders for the final implant in breast reconstruction.  Typically around 4 weeks gives the tissue time to "settle" before final placement.  If you have specific questions I would recommend talking to your surgeon.  Hope this helps.

Michael A. Fallucco, MD, FACS
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon

Expander timing

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Expanders are used to expand the skin to make room for an implant. In general the expander can be removed whenever this process is complete. I usually wait a month after the final fill but if you have had your expanders in for a while and the capsule is mature and the current size is right expander exchange shouldn't be an issue at anytime. If you have concerns I'd talk more with your surgeon as there is no harm is waiting too. Good luck, Dr K

Tissue expander to permanent implant timeframe

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There really is not set time to wait until you replace your tissue expanders. I like to expand to a volume about 20-25% higher than the  final volume for the implant.  I will usually keep patients at that volume for about 4-6 weeks and then exchange them. If life or other events are taking place that prevent the patient from having the exchange it is ok to do it a few months later.

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

Implant exchange timing

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There are a wide variety of opinions on the optimal time to perform your implant exchange (removal of tissue expanders and placement of permanent slicone or saline implants).   I generally advise patients to wait at least 4 weeks to allow the tissue expanders to "settle."    Having said that, you can easily wait several months to have your implant exchange procedure.     I'm sure your PS has a good reason for his/her recommendations.  If you feel uncertain about his/her recommendations, I'm sure your PS would not mind giving you a name of a trusted colleague for a 2nd opinion consult.   Best of luck.

Dr. Basu

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.