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questions re:replacing tissue expanders with implants

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi,
I am having my tissue expanders replaced with implants on Thursday (3/18)YEAH!!! I just wanted to hear what it was like for some of you. My plastic surgeon says it's no biggie. Just wanted to hear it from someone who's been there. Also, he says I will need to wear a bra constantly for the first few weeks---any suggestions for styles/brands of bras?
Thanks, El

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

I can't help you as I had a lumpectomy, but, I know that others will respond that have been thru this. Good luck to you on Thursday!

Hugs, Kylez

svillalobos01
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2010

Well congratulations, I just had mine replaced last October and it was nothing compared to the mastectomy. I was just so happy that soon i was going to be able to sleep on my sides again!

Surgery took about 2 hrs., didn't need a lot of pain killers afterwards, as I said, compare to the mastectomy it was nothing. I had 2 drains, one in each side for about 6 days. I am very happy with the results. Due to a little complication with the drains, I had my nipples done right after, so now I am all done. Good luck and just think that this soon will be over. Be strong, and don't loose your faith.

Oh, in regards the bras, until now, I can't wear my regular bras, most of them are wired and kinda small. They leave marks on the sides of my breasts and they bother me. I went to Tinas Treasure, in Scottsdale, AZ and through my insurance I got plenty of bras for about 3 years. They are not as sexy as the ones I used to wear, but they are so comfortable. My surgeon gave me those ugly sports bras with front hooks and i wore them all the way from the mastectomy to after i got my nipple reconstructed. Once again, good luck, hopefully we hear from you after you are done.

tommaseena's picture
tommaseena
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

My tissue expanders were exchanged for silicone in Nov. I can sleep on my side with no problem. My PS went through the same spot. I did not need drains but every PS is different.

Margo

svillalobos01
Posts: 17
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi there, yes, in my case, my PS did reopen the same scars to insert the silicone implants. The side were my tumor was is still a little uncomfortable to sleep in but it is nothing compare to when I had the expanders, finally they do not look and feel like big rocks anymore! You'll love them, and I am glad you won't need drains, that's a plus!!!

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you so much for responding! I'm glad to hear it is not as painful post-op. I have been able to sort of sleep on my side-I have to get in just the right position and not move. Needless to say, I haven't been sleeping much. I can't wait to feel comfortable again! Really hoping I don't have drains again.

I haven't decided if I want nipple reconstruction. I'm going to see how I feel after the implants. I guess I'll have to go on a bra hunt after I do a little healing.
Thanks again!

El

Beth_in_MO
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2010

Congrats in advance. I too sleep on my side. It is definitely more comfortable with the silicone than with the expanders. I do still feel the scar pull sometimes when I roll over too fast. I had my permanent implant put in in June. The recovery is MUCH faster. I was riding rollercoasters 3 weeks after the surgery. I did have drains, but they didn't stay in as long. Depends on your surgeon, I guess. Anyway, it's a breeze compared to the mastectomy. Good luck.

pinkkari09's picture
pinkkari09
Posts: 878
Joined: Sep 2009

loving this discussion, I have expanders in right now too, can't wait to get 'em out, does anyone feel as if there expander scratches them on the inside? Oh I can't wait to sleep on my side!

Christine Louise
Posts: 429
Joined: Feb 2010

My expanders feel different every day, nearly always annoying and distracting! I can't wait to trade up to implants! Some days they pull, or sting, or feel as if they're going to burst out of me like in the movie "Alien." I feel like I'm carrying billiard balls around under my armpits. And, sleeping on the side? Will be heaven!!

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks so much for the replies. I am so excited to get these things out and am glad to know it won't be too bad. Thanks to all!
El

pinkkari09's picture
pinkkari09
Posts: 878
Joined: Sep 2009

I start radiation tomorrow and my expanders are almost fully expanded, one or two more fills, how long after radiation did your PS wait before changing them out?

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi KMS,

I didn't have to have radiation so, have no idea of the time frame. Post it as a new discussion. I'm sure you will get lots of great answers.
Very best of everything, El

Dot53
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2009

I am going today for what I hope is my last fill but my surgery to put the permanent implants in is scheduled for Sept 27. My PS insists you wait 6 months before the exchange...

sjeilers
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2010

I just found this site and will be going in for my last fill today. I will then be waiting for 6 weeks before having my turtle shells removed and my implants put in. I'm very glad to hear that the recovery time is much easier. I've had a lot of pain with the bilateral mastectomy and then with all the fills. After the swap, does it matter what type of bras you wear, so long as they are not wireless?

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8319
Joined: Aug 2009

every surgeon is different with regards to recommendations. I have been told to wear a sports bra - with no underwire for 12 months // 24 hours per day.

Today is 3 weeks since my exchange from tissue expanders to my new Saline breasts. I was in shock the first week .. No side sleeping and I felt that my new breasts we 'NOT' as perky as my expanders .. 3 weeks later, I look great, more importantly - I look normal. I am debating about having my nipples reconstructed, and yet going to the 3D tattoo aerola's.

REcover time .. is not as bad, as bilateral mast-my .. Turtle shells, or as I like to call mine expanders .. footballs cuz I always had 1 of the tips floating under my right armpit. Sports Bra's .. get 1 size larger for night sleep .. example: if you are a 36B, purchase 38B for night wear. Wal-Mart or Target have a great variety when shelves are stocked .. any where from $11.00 each to $14.99, otherwise Champion website has wonderful sales going on now .. regular priced sports bra of $49.00, now sale priced at $29.00 or $39.00 bras now $19.00 each ..

Happy Shopping and Good Luck ..

Vicki Sam

filimu's picture
filimu
Posts: 74
Joined: Aug 2010

I had my replacement in April..went thru the same scars as when they put in the expanders, and recovery was a breeze compared to the first two surgeries. But all this talk about bras has me bamboozled. I haven't worn one since surgery. I had my nipples put on when she did the implants, and i'm up in the air about whether to get them tatooed or not, they kinda look ok the way they are, but some touchup is gonna need to be done.

I did get one bra from Vickie's Secret. Just got a larger size from what I used to wear, kept trying them on til I found one that took in my sides comfortably - I just couldn't stand the idea of wearing some old frumpy looking thing, but even this is too big and clunky feeling to wear all the time, so mostly I'm just not wearing anything, and my surgeon is fine with it.

Heatherbelle's picture
Heatherbelle
Posts: 1221
Joined: Jun 2010

Im having my 3rd fill this afternoon, and I can't WAIT until I'm done with the expanders & get my soft boobs in...I miss sleeping on my side so much, I just started chemo last week so I'm about a week away from my hair falling out -having my big boobs back will definately help me with the whole bald thing...my plastic surgeon has told me for now i can either wear a sports bra or nothing, whatever i prefer (which of course is nothing!)

nwisser
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2010

Am looking forward next Thursday to getting my tissue expanders replaced with implants - the whole hard football thing I've seen on a lot of blogs, same here. I agree it will be great to have my boobs back (so to speak). And I understand how you feel about the hair falling out, but found that once it did and I saw my little old head, it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Actually doesn't bother me near as much as the boobs looking weird right now. So hang in there - I had my husband and my grown son take turns shaving my head after it started falling out - it was actually a fun experience to share.

slynch's picture
slynch
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2010

My ps has never mentioned my wearing anything. I have been braless since April and it is wonderful. I hope when I have my expanders exchanged I can continue to go braless. I have always hated a bra and the bright side of this journey is that I have not had to wear one.

Dawne.Hope's picture
Dawne.Hope
Posts: 820
Joined: Sep 2009

Bras are important after you have your TE's exchanged because you want them to settle properly in the pocket. You don't want them shifting. Over time they can migrate over to the armpits and then you'll have to have a revision.

I couldn't stand a bra when I had my TE's. At the very most I wore cami's with a shelf bra. It hurt to have anything touch them. There's a great thread over on breastcancer.org that discusses everything bras.

But, listen to your own PS. They all are different on what they recommend.

I have found this discussion helpful, though. Here is the link: http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/44/topic/753120?page=21#idx_603

Winfree
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2012

I had expanders I'm when I had my bilateral mastectomy. That was in January of 2011. After chemo and radiation to left side only finishing in October 2011 I was told by the head of oncology to wait 8-9 months to let my skin heal inside and out. I have my outpatient surgery scheduled for August and am more that ready after 1.5 years but hope that will allow for the best results in the left breast. I was told of the risks of an implant in a radiated breast so I wanted to give it plenty of time. I am excited to have the TE removed. I am thinking the down time will be short in comparison. My Petscan is Friday Jume 15th so pray for a clean cancer free finding:). I was diagnosed in December 2010 with stage 3 lobular breast cancer with 18 of 23 lymph nodes positive. Thank you for all your informative posts and the battles you have fought.

In sisterly love

Brenda

Winfree
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2012

I had expanders places when I had my bilateral mastectomy. That was in January of 2011. After chemo and radiation to left side only finishing in October 2011 I was told by the head of oncology to wait 8-9 months to let my skin heal inside and out. I have my outpatient surgery scheduled for August and am more that ready after 1.5 years but hope that will allow for the best results in the left breast. I was told of the risks of an implant in a radiated breast so I wanted to give it plenty of time. I am excited to have the TE removed. I am thinking the down time will be short in comparison. My Petscan is Friday Jume 15th so pray for a clean cancer free finding:). I was diagnosed in December 2010 with stage 3 lobular breast cancer with 18 of 23 lymph nodes positive. Thank you for all your informative posts and the battles you have fought.

In sisterly love

Brenda

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