CSN Login
Members Online: 9

Tissue Expanders????

monica811's picture
monica811
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

Had a skin sparing double mastectomy about three months ago. These (gas jugs) I mean tissue expanders are driving me crazy. My right side is still either bruised or something underneath the expander where the alloderm attaches to my muscle. Doc's don't seem to be worried, but i am very active and that area becomes pretty painful! Going through chemo now. Hopefully starting taxol today if my red count is OK.

I would love to hear from anyone else that has had any issues with tissue expanders and alloderm!!!!!

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8501
Joined: Aug 2009

sporting .. new ta-ta's - C cup. Here's my low down, again just my expereince - everyone is different ..

during this same surgery. My expanders like so many here on our board . . . felt like deflated footballs = they are uncomfortable and do not feel anything like natural - soft breast tissue -- just bulky, hard and un-natural. Tugging and light burning sensations felt when I over used my arms, or lifted too much weight while grocery shopping - etc.

Sleeping was unbearable most nights .. I was unable to sleep on my right or left side at night. What I found tha helped me as I am a side sleeper not stomach or back, is multiple pillows various sizes and shapes.

I went in every other week for 120cc fill ups, ending at 850cc per breast. Some nights I took mortin to help me sleep, as the pain was intense after a fluid fill.

Always wear a bra - 24/7, and never ever use heat! Slather vitiam e on incision scars, and marvel in the miracle of plastic surgery. Removing 1 or 2 breasts, and creating new breast -- just from the excess skin, is truly a miracle for all of us WARRIORS.

Please contact your Plastic Surgeon, chances are his/her office will tell no more than just be patient -- and in time your body will adjust (not, so much).

Strength and Courage,

Vicki Sam

monica811's picture
monica811
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

Are you a C cup with 850cc? I have 300cc in now and am going back for one more fill up of 50cc each and then I thought that I would fall between a large B and small C. I was a good B before. I have a small frame so I am not sure that I could handle 850cc. What do you think?

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

frame size does matter.
If you are a small frame then your fills don't have to be as much as a larger framed. When I say large framed I do not mean weight wise.

I am not that overweight but my ribcage is large and in order for my new boobs to look the same size the new implants on the left was 700cc and the right was 800cc so my bra size is a 40C. The reason for the difference in size is because I am right handed and my pec muscle on the right side was stronger and did not stretch as much as the left side did.

Margo

Chickadee1955's picture
Chickadee1955
Posts: 333
Joined: Apr 2010

I just got my implants and the expanders were filled to about 500cc's each. The expanders are something approximating a C cup, but since I haven't done any bra sizing, who knows? The size looks okay on my medium frame.

Chickadee

PS the implants are sooooo much more comfortable than the expanders.

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

I forgot to mention that the tissue expanders were filled more than the final implants. My final implants are silicone implants and are so much more comfortable than the saline expanders.

Margo

kt1127
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

I had a mastectomy on Nov 5th and am scheduled to have my expander removed feb22nd. I had two fills of the expander on a Mon they put 350cc's thought i would need chemo. Found out no chemo 250 cc's that Thurs so I was ready for radiation....Now hold on radiation. there is concern that i have cancer left by the chest wall. I am so grateful to get the expander out. I am left handed and its the left side the discomfort from this deflated football thing is killing me. I am a DD and am going to a C I am worried about the difference in my figure while waiting for the reduction on the other side ( 3 months atleast) anyone have suggestions. I wear scarves now...cant in the spring

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

Tommaseena is right,cup size with implants is so variable. I was filled to 310cc's and was exchanged with 325cc silicone implants. I am small framed and on me, I wear a 30D, or DD depending on the brand of the bra. You will not get the projection from an implant that you had with your natural breasts. Though I wear a bigger bra size (cup-wise), my breasts look smaller in my clothes. I would have liked to have gone bigger, but my skin was too thin and was stretched to the max. Also, implants are likely going to be wider than your natural breasts, hence a larger cup size than your natural breasts.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I had a lumpectomy, so, no tissue expanders. Looks like the pink sisters are giving you their experience. I wish you good luck.

And, that is a beautiful picture of you and your daughter?

Hugs, Jan

kt1127
Posts: 51
Joined: Jan 2011

My pc told me when she filled my expander that the cc'c are effected by your frame and not by a set cc for each cup. I was a dd and will be a large b or C when I get done soon. And the expander is horrible but I think all warriors can get through as long as we stick together. good luck

midnight10
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 2010

I am so glad to see these posts. I have one temporary expanded filled 'full' 400 cc's for a C cup and the other only partially filled because I'm undergoing radiation right now. Anyway, sleeping is next to impossible because I too am a side sleeper. I'm using 3 reg size pillows and one small one most of the time, but still can't get comfy and haven't been able to train myself to stay on my back. Suggestions? Tummy sleeping? NO WAY with the rock I have!

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1590
Joined: Dec 2009

I was in AGONY with those expanders.... I could hardly move my arms
and hands without pain. I hurried up and got through them, I would get
double doses each time. I too took pain killers as needed and muscle
relaxers (they kept me sane and save from the muscle spasms). I think
it took my by surprise for someone reason I had thought it would have
been easier, this expanding process.

And they did feel awkward and unnatural, like lumps. But it gets better over
time. You can really start looking forward to your exchange surgery, when
you can sleep again =)

Hugs,
Ayse

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8501
Joined: Aug 2009

or mega fill ups -- fast rush to get everything done -- as I was about to lose my health insurance --

Even tho I am a size C, my new breast appeared smalled than my 850cc tissue expanders - immediately after my exchange surgery -- I felt let down, slightly depressed --. It took about a month for me to really appreicate my new breast. And now 5 months after the exchange -- I so THRILLED. I am not small, but ample.

Please let us know if you have any other questions - as we are here to help, or give you insight to our personal journeys which have taken many turns and twists.

Strength and Courage

Vicki Sam

LyndaV's picture
LyndaV
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2011

And so pleased to see this discussion. January 24th 2011,I had my tissue expanders removed, thank goodness, I liked to refer to them as barbie, because I felt soo plastic :)... Anyway. When my PS discussed what I wanted to do I chose TE's and silicone implants. Before the BiMasts ,I was a 40Cish . I also am large framed, football player type shoulders and back, My PS was sure that with the fill to 800cc's and using largest silicone implants, I'd be a nice C. Well, didn't happen. my body seemed to have swallowed(his words) my implants and because I'm 5'3" and overweight it's like they disappeared. Now, I tried to keep my expectations low because being over weight and 50 who knew if my body would betray me...It did. I've been devastated cried for like a week. It's been three weeks and I've seen a little improvement, and reading your post gives me hope.I see my PS end of March and if things don't change enough possibly another surgery, that I don't want to do. Of course losing weight should make a difference, unfortunately that's the hardest thing for me. But, The biggest thing is that I'm cancer free and have a wonderful loving husband who loves me no msater what. If there's any advice you can give me to get through this I'd be so appreciative! I've gotten a lot out of reading these posts.

Faith, Strength, Courage,
LyndaV

Ms Sue
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

I've had my TE's for four weeks. After a fill last week, I slept on my right side for the first time, propped up on pillows. Next morning I felt the TE on my right side move. Now every time I move my arm the darn TE wiggles. It seems to be in the original location but the movement is starting to drive me crazy and make me wonder if something is really wrong. Has this happened to anyone else?

LyndaV's picture
LyndaV
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2011

but for some reason my left one rotated 180 degrees, stumped my PS,but said it has happened.He wasn['t alarmed about the movement No problem with the fills . I see you posted last week, So you may have already seen your PS. If not just mention it I'm sure it'll be fine. But disconcerting when you feel things move... Good Luck

midnight10
Posts: 74
Joined: Sep 2010

Exchange surgery not taking place until September because of radiaiton! Need to sleep before then!! :-)

PinkPearl's picture
PinkPearl
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

We are almost on the same timeline. I also had a tissue sparing double mastectomy in early Nov. with expanders. I really was not prepared for how uncomfortable the expanders are and how they impacted the recovery process pain wise, at least for me. I was about a 38 or 40 C before surgery and would like to be about that afterwards. My plastic surgeon does not require me to wear a bra and has never said anything about it except to wear one for about a week after the mx. I am up to 700cc as of today and as of yet they don't look very big to me. I am little worried. Also I learned today that they will not do the exchange surgery until after I finish Chemo. because of the risk of infection. I was really disappointed in that. I just can't stand having these hard as rock expanders for 6 to 7 more months but guess I will have to learn to put up with them. I start chemo in a few weeks. I don't know if they used alloderm or not so I can't answer anything related to that but I do have a lot of muscle tighting and have a hard time sleeping. Always a few surprises just around the corner in this BC world!

jessica80's picture
jessica80
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2011

I cried with mine!!I couldnt beleive how bad they hurt!!I had a hysterectomy at the same time and the only thing that hurt was those baseballs!! I was told that they had to take extra tissue that could be cancerous so the expander was litterally setting on the bone of my ribcage and it hurt so bad!!But once they came out everything was great!! I was alil tata happy and got DD's I m really happy with them but I would stare at them everyday and just kept going til I was happy!! I got the memory gel implants and they are very soft and comfotable!! I hope it gets better for you!

shelbyhome
Posts: 145
Joined: Feb 2010

I agree with most on here, I could not wait to get the expanders out they were very uncomfortable, the pillows were a blessing as I was a side sleeper, night time was the worst time. I carried a pillow around with me to put under the seat belt and slept with pillows under my arms also,pillows and more pillows seems to be the best advice I can give, oh and I took valium at night which helped me to relax.
The implants are SO much better.
I don't have projection either but you can get what they call balancers to fill in where you lack. I wish that I would have went a little bigger than I did, they were suppose to be what I had which was a full C but I am more of a B cup now so the balancers should help me out.
I wish you well
Hugs :) Robbin

Different Ballgame's picture
Different Ballgame
Posts: 870
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Monica,

That's what I called my tissue expanders...STEEL BULLETS. I had a lot people touch them because I could not believe how hard they were. I was lucky in that I had no discomfort until the last 2 fill in's and the discomfort was only for a short time (a couple hours...Excedrin made the discomfort disappear.) I was filled to the maximum. I will say that the hardness was not comfortable. What a pleasure when I got the implants...Mentor Silicone. I also had skin sparing contralateral mastectomy.

I forgot how uncomfortable the Steel Bullets were until I read your posting. Time has a way of forgetting or minimizing one's memory of unpleasant things.

Just keep focusing on the future and before you know it, those expanders will be gone. Also, after each fill in, keep telling your doctor how you feel, especially if the pains gets worse. Now my memory is kicking in. I do remember after one fill in that the bones in my rib cage felt sore, like a black and blue soreness. Fortunately, it only lasted a few days and then I was fine.

QUESTION: Are you creaming your skin? A good, inexpensive skin cream that I have used 38 years for my body is KERI LOTION. You can buy it anywhere.

Lots of Hugs,
Janelle

PinkPearl's picture
PinkPearl
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

As I posted above-expanders are uncomfortable but this week I have had two weeks to adjust to the expansion so that has been better BUT what I really think has made the difference is physical therapy. I didn't even think I needed it, however, I did get an appointment and the stretches for the arm and chest area are breaking down the adhesions (small bands of scar tissue) and it is really freeing up my movement and I think the expanders feel better because of it.

I had tried those exercises they give you after a mastectomy but didn't follow them like I should have, I was just so sore, but in looking back I should have done them. I lost some movement and didn't even realize it until I saw the physical therapist.

PinkPearl's picture
PinkPearl
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

As I posted above-expanders are uncomfortable but this week I have had two weeks to adjust to the expansion so that has been better BUT what I really think has made the difference is physical therapy. I didn't even think I needed it, however, I did get an appointment and the stretches for the arm and chest area are breaking down the adhesions (small bands of scar tissue) and it is really freeing up my movement and I think the expanders feel better because of it.

I had tried those exercises they give you after a mastectomy but didn't follow them like I should have, I was just so sore, but in looking back I should have done them. I lost some movement and didn't even realize it until I saw the physical therapist.

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

Oh boy, those expanders were H E double hockey sticks! I was on a great deal of pain meds the entire time. Once the exchange surgery was done and I had my nice soft new memory gel implants things got much better. Hang in there, it does get better.
Hugz,
~Kari

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network