Expanders and Radiation

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denbralou
denbralou Member Posts: 66
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello has anyone had Expanders put in before radiation and if so, were there no complications. My surgeon is telling me that since they are not sure if I am going to need radiation until after surgery, that he doesnt want to put the expander in because there could be problems. Thanks

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  • rm22111
    rm22111 Member Posts: 54
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    expanders and radiation
    I had a bilateral mastectomy with expanders put in at the same time. I knew I would need radiation at least on one side. I did a lot of research on this site and on the internet and in books. I have not had my radiation yet. My plastic surgeon says that he wants me to get all filled up before radiation. I have talked to several people that had expanders and radiation and no problems. I have read that some of the problems with the muscles and skin after radiation can be fixed when they do the exchange and put in the implants. I wanted to try and go the route of less surgery if I could. Most Plastic surgeons do not like to the expanders and implants if you will have radiation, because of the complications that can come with it, but I figured the complications could not be any worse then having to have muscle and skin removed from my stomach or back to rebuild the breast. I am 48 and decided if the expanders and implants did not work then I would just have them removed and not having any other surgeries. If you are in need of a tummy tuck then it may actually be a better choice to go with that option. You may need to talk to other plastic surgeons and ask to talk to any of his/her patients that had expanders and radiation.

    Hope this is helpful.
    rm22111
  • denbralou
    denbralou Member Posts: 66
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    rm22111 said:

    expanders and radiation
    I had a bilateral mastectomy with expanders put in at the same time. I knew I would need radiation at least on one side. I did a lot of research on this site and on the internet and in books. I have not had my radiation yet. My plastic surgeon says that he wants me to get all filled up before radiation. I have talked to several people that had expanders and radiation and no problems. I have read that some of the problems with the muscles and skin after radiation can be fixed when they do the exchange and put in the implants. I wanted to try and go the route of less surgery if I could. Most Plastic surgeons do not like to the expanders and implants if you will have radiation, because of the complications that can come with it, but I figured the complications could not be any worse then having to have muscle and skin removed from my stomach or back to rebuild the breast. I am 48 and decided if the expanders and implants did not work then I would just have them removed and not having any other surgeries. If you are in need of a tummy tuck then it may actually be a better choice to go with that option. You may need to talk to other plastic surgeons and ask to talk to any of his/her patients that had expanders and radiation.

    Hope this is helpful.
    rm22111

    Expanders & Radiation
    Thanks, I think I will call them tomorrow and ask them about these options.
  • greyhoundluvr
    greyhoundluvr Member Posts: 402
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    Expanders and Radiation
    Hi! I am new here and saw your question about tissue expanders and radiation. Although I was a candidate for lumpectomy, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy on January 29th of this year. I had tissue expanders placed at the time. Although radiation wasn't anticipated at the time I made that decision, I have discussed extensively with my plastic surgeon since and I believe I would have made the same decision. It seems like the docs opinions vary significantly but mine indicated that there is always a risk of scarring down from the radiation (which doesn't make any plastic surgeon happy) and that this could cause a problem with doing implants later regardless. He plans to over-inflate the left side where I will have radiation and says this usually gives him enough room to work with getting the implants in. Otherwise, the option is to do the flap reconstruction - likewise, I doubt I will go that route and would probably just have the expanders removed.

    Good luck to you - I know how hard these decisions can be and how much conflicting information is out there. Never hesitate to ask for more than one opinion to get all the information you need.
  • denbralou
    denbralou Member Posts: 66
    Options

    Expanders and Radiation
    Hi! I am new here and saw your question about tissue expanders and radiation. Although I was a candidate for lumpectomy, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy on January 29th of this year. I had tissue expanders placed at the time. Although radiation wasn't anticipated at the time I made that decision, I have discussed extensively with my plastic surgeon since and I believe I would have made the same decision. It seems like the docs opinions vary significantly but mine indicated that there is always a risk of scarring down from the radiation (which doesn't make any plastic surgeon happy) and that this could cause a problem with doing implants later regardless. He plans to over-inflate the left side where I will have radiation and says this usually gives him enough room to work with getting the implants in. Otherwise, the option is to do the flap reconstruction - likewise, I doubt I will go that route and would probably just have the expanders removed.

    Good luck to you - I know how hard these decisions can be and how much conflicting information is out there. Never hesitate to ask for more than one opinion to get all the information you need.

    Expanders & Radiation
    Thank you very much greyhoundluvr, they are scheduling me a consult with the radiation oncologist and I am also going to talk to another one also to see what his opinion is.