Tissue Expanders????

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monica811
monica811 Member Posts: 10
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
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!!!!!
«1

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  • VickiSam
    VickiSam Member Posts: 9,079 Member
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    Yes .. I have been there, experienced that .. now I am
    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
    monica811 Member Posts: 10
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    VickiSam said:

    Yes .. I have been there, experienced that .. now I am
    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

    Thanks but one more question
    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
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769
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    monica811 said:

    Thanks but one more question
    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?

    frame
    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
    Chickadee1955 Member Posts: 356 Member
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    frame
    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

    I just got my implants and
    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
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769
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    I just got my implants and
    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.

    I forgot to mention
    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
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
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    monica811 said:

    Thanks but one more question
    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?

    cup size
    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.
  • aysemari
    aysemari Member Posts: 1,596 Member
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    Can I just say...
    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
  • PinkPearl
    PinkPearl Member Posts: 280
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    Same timeline almost
    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
    jessica80 Member Posts: 11
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    Ouch!!
    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!
  • VickiSam
    VickiSam Member Posts: 9,079 Member
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    aysemari said:

    Can I just say...
    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

    So many variables .. Like Ayse - I too went in for double
    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
  • survivorbc09
    survivorbc09 Member Posts: 4,374 Member
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    monica811 said:

    Thanks but one more question
    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?

    I had a lumpectomy, so, no
    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
    kt1127 Member Posts: 51
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    I just got my implants and
    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.

    expanders
    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
  • shelbyhome
    shelbyhome Member Posts: 145
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    I agree with most on here, I
    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
    Different Ballgame Member Posts: 868
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    Are you referring to the Steel Bullets?
    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
    PinkPearl Member Posts: 280
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    one more bit of info.
    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
    PinkPearl Member Posts: 280
    Options
    one more bit of info.
    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.
  • Ms Sue
    Ms Sue Member Posts: 1
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    aysemari said:

    Can I just say...
    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

    Tissue Expander Movement?
    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?
  • midnight10
    midnight10 Member Posts: 74
    Options
    VickiSam said:

    Yes .. I have been there, experienced that .. now I am
    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

    Sleeping/expanders
    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!
  • pinkkari09
    pinkkari09 Member Posts: 877
    Options
    Oh boy, those expanders were
    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
  • midnight10
    midnight10 Member Posts: 74
    Options
    aysemari said:

    Can I just say...
    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

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