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cammie's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Apr 2003

I can not believe how painful the expander is. It feels as if my left lung is being pushed on. To take a deep breath really hurts. I had the expander put in on May 8th. My doctor has put 200cc in so far and wants to do another 50 cc on Tuesday. After each treatment I can't raise my arm for days. Then my doctor plans on leaving me like this for 2 months while my skin stays stretched. Augh. Has anyone else had this fun experience. I know it will all be worth it in the end, but since diagnois in Oct 02, the end just keeps looking farther and farther away.

Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2003

I am currently going through the expansion process and I also was in so much pain at the beginning. I had the expanders put in on April 16th with 200cc also. He then put 120cc in each side 2 weeks later. It was so painful that when he did the next fill at 4 weeks we only put in 60cc on both sides. Now at 6 weeks we put 100 on both sides and I was ready for so much pain and was so happy because it hasn't been so bad. Hang in there. You will get to the point where it gets better but it may not be till 6 weeks after surgery. I am now at 480cc on both sides and hopefully will only need 1 more fill. They will put in 600 on both sides. What I have done to help the process is going to a massage therapist that does medical massage. She works on opening up the muscles under my arms so I can have more movement and it really helps. When you lift your arms do you notice that the skin doesn't move where the port is? If so massage the skin and it will release and make it easier to raise your arm. You don't have to massage it very hard, just really easy in the area until it releases. I have one side where the skin seems to like to attach to the port. When I rub it really easily it seems to release. Use a little oil or lotion on your skin when you massage it. Hope this helps. Hang in there, it does get better. I feel 100% better now at 6 weeks and I felt just like you. It seemed that a metal band was wrapped around my chest. My massage therapist told me to look at it this way. At least your nerves weren't damaged since you are feeling so much. I thought that was a good way to look at it. If you have any questions that I can help you with just let me know.

Posts: 23
Joined: May 2003

Hi Cammie,
Had my expanders put in last December. Although some women are able to be expanded without pain, unfortunately, I'm not one of them (darn the luck!). So I understand where you are coming from. Had a lot of pain for about 3 weeks after the surgery then it eased up. Was able to get off strong meds and go to something like celebrax which I stayed on for a couple of months.
I asked my doctor about the sensation of the expanders feeling like they are pushing on the lungs. She said that lungs are well protected and expanders are not hurting them. Where I got into trouble was not taking deep breaths because the expanders were hurting my chest. I've had a series on lung problems since the expanders have been put in and I am pretty sure it is because of my shallow breathing patterns.
Alas, I'm almost finished with the expanding part (once I get the okay from the lung specialist). So take lots of deep breaths. If it hurts to take deep breaths I would recommend talking to your doctor about a mild medication to help with the pain.
I also have problems with my arms after I get expanded for a couple of days. My arms and hands swell (plus tinge) and at night they go "to sleep". I am looking forward to getting them out, hopefully the implants will be a little more comfortable. Hang in there chickie :-)

blossomtime's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2003

I had my expander put in at time of mastectomy one year ago. Finished with expansion in october
Dont really feel like it was painful, just tight and heavy feeling. Still feels that way at times. Scheduled for exchange for implant this week. Will be glad to get this behind me. Good luck with yours, hopefully it will get better.

Posts: 49
Joined: Dec 2002

I had an expander and it was tight but not painful. I would let it relax before I had more put in. It seems like your doctor may be filling it too fast. If you have to wait two months to have the implant put in, an extra week of waiting will not be a problem and them maybe it will not hurt as much when he puts more in. Good Luck

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2003

Yes, the expanders hurt more than my bilateral masectomy. It should start easing up soon once your skin stretches a bit, but each time you get a refill it will fill quite tight and uncomfortable. The initial pain is the worse. Hang in there it will get better. I am almost complete with my reconstruction surgury and it was definitely worth it. Laura

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