Tissue expander shape/size vs. implant shape/size

Dawne.Hope
Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hey ladies,

It's been said that they are no dumb questions, but this may be the first one. If I'd heard someone ask it a year ago, I would have thought they were looney. But ... I'm having a hard time deciding when to stop with my fills with the tissue expanders. I didn't think it would be hard to decide.

My problem is ... the shape/size of my new breasts are different than my old ones. They sit a little lower on my chest, they is more space between them in the center and they feel like they are over a little more to the armpit. When I wear clothes, they look OK, I don't look like a freak. But I'm wondering if the shape is going to look different when they put in the implant or do they look similiar to what they look like now.

If they are like what they are now, I don't want to get any bigger. I don't like the feeling of my arm scraping against the expander. I'll ask my PS on Monday, but I was wondering what your experiences were and how did you know when to stop? Right now, I'm smaller than I was before and that's OK with me ... but everybody else is telling me that I need to go at least as big as I was before. I just don't like how they look, they're different. I know it won't be the same, but was wondering if you all looked different from the expanders to the implants.

Thanks! I feel like I'm crazy, here! :)

dh
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Comments

  • ms_independent
    ms_independent Member Posts: 214
    they are kind of different
    The implants like the expanders are not shaped like real breasts. My expanders also went sort of under my arms. Plastic surgeons like to expand your skin larger than the implant because there is "shrinking" of the capsule after the implant is placed. So, you want the expander breast to be larger than what you want to end up with. My implants are fatter than my breasts were and also flatter than mine were. They are sort of like fat pancakes--plump around the edges but, sort of flat across the front (not cone shaped like the real thing). My expanders went much further under my arms than the implants do. The implants don't look abnormal in clothing. I have only had my implants for 1 1/2 months so haven't gotten to the nipple stage---don't know what I'll decide about that. Hope this helps!

    Hugs, El
  • m-star
    m-star Member Posts: 441

    they are kind of different
    The implants like the expanders are not shaped like real breasts. My expanders also went sort of under my arms. Plastic surgeons like to expand your skin larger than the implant because there is "shrinking" of the capsule after the implant is placed. So, you want the expander breast to be larger than what you want to end up with. My implants are fatter than my breasts were and also flatter than mine were. They are sort of like fat pancakes--plump around the edges but, sort of flat across the front (not cone shaped like the real thing). My expanders went much further under my arms than the implants do. The implants don't look abnormal in clothing. I have only had my implants for 1 1/2 months so haven't gotten to the nipple stage---don't know what I'll decide about that. Hope this helps!

    Hugs, El

    Im so glad someone esle
    Im so glad someone esle asked this question first!! lol

    My expanders also push out at the outside edges and my arm rubs on them too. I hate it too! Its a wierd sensation. I was tiny before surgery and so never had any problems with rubbing! No way do i want my silicones to protrude out so they catch on my arms.

    I'd also like mine to sit more INWARDS so the gap between them isn't so big.I am going for the teardrop shaped cohesive gel implants-i think you guys call them gummi bears (????)as i have quite a bony chest area and they will slope more naturally on me.I'd still like a high-ish profile though.

    My PS assures me the finished article will be different to what it is now and i hope he's right. I WANT CLEAVAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL =D
  • greyhoundluvr
    greyhoundluvr Member Posts: 402
    Not a Stupid Question at All!!
    These are the exact same things I am finding with my tissue expanders and I am so happy someone asked. My left one (the side where they took some nodes) feels like it is up under my armpit and makes me a little nuts every time I move that arm and bump into the expander. Cleavage would be a nice plus but I'll be happy if I can just get rid of that part!

    Chris
  • ruthielaine
    ruthielaine Member Posts: 59
    thought I was the only one
    thought I was the only one wondering this stuff!!!! From others I've spoke to the permanent implants are so different than the expanders. Especially the silicone vs. the saline. All I know is I can't wait to get this thing out!!!!!
  • Ritzy
    Ritzy Member Posts: 4,381
    m-star said:

    Im so glad someone esle
    Im so glad someone esle asked this question first!! lol

    My expanders also push out at the outside edges and my arm rubs on them too. I hate it too! Its a wierd sensation. I was tiny before surgery and so never had any problems with rubbing! No way do i want my silicones to protrude out so they catch on my arms.

    I'd also like mine to sit more INWARDS so the gap between them isn't so big.I am going for the teardrop shaped cohesive gel implants-i think you guys call them gummi bears (????)as i have quite a bony chest area and they will slope more naturally on me.I'd still like a high-ish profile though.

    My PS assures me the finished article will be different to what it is now and i hope he's right. I WANT CLEAVAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL =D

    Dawne, no question is dumb.
    Dawne, no question is dumb. See the others that wanted to know too? I had a lumpectomy, but, after reading your post M-star, I am just curious as to what gummi bears or the implants that you are going to have are. I don't think I have heard of these before. I thought several might want to know. Thanks! Good luck to all of you!
  • SamuraiMom
    SamuraiMom Member Posts: 295
    Just got expanders out 8 weeks ago...
    Much, much more comfortable without those tortoise shells inside me! Don't expect a miracle though after reconstruction. So far, I still don't have cleavage and they looked extremely strange up until a day or two ago. It takes a while for the implants to "settle in" to their new home. I went into the double mastectomy with a large D and even with 750cc implants I am a small C. Body size makes a HUGE difference on how you turn out. I weigh 195lbs so 750cc on me looks a lot smaller than they would on a petite person. Good luck!! p.s. I wrote a lot about this on my blog if you're interested. ;)
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823

    thought I was the only one
    thought I was the only one wondering this stuff!!!! From others I've spoke to the permanent implants are so different than the expanders. Especially the silicone vs. the saline. All I know is I can't wait to get this thing out!!!!!

    I'm not alone! :)
    It is so good to know that I'm not alone. I'm greatly encouraged that the implants won't sit so close to my armpit ... I'm breathing a sigh of relief over that one. I too, would like a little cleavage! :) The gap in the middle is so strange.

    I have an appt. on Monday to see the plastic surgeon and have the saline vs. silicone talk. I'm still undecided on what type of implants I want. I called his office today and left a message for his PA. This visit was supposed to be the last fill before we make a date for the final switch. I called today and said that I may want to keep going. We'll see. I'm encouraged by your responses so far that the implants will be different. Thank you! Glad I could be the guinea pig to ask the question! ;)

    blessings,
    dh
  • Alexis F
    Alexis F Member Posts: 3,598

    I'm not alone! :)
    It is so good to know that I'm not alone. I'm greatly encouraged that the implants won't sit so close to my armpit ... I'm breathing a sigh of relief over that one. I too, would like a little cleavage! :) The gap in the middle is so strange.

    I have an appt. on Monday to see the plastic surgeon and have the saline vs. silicone talk. I'm still undecided on what type of implants I want. I called his office today and left a message for his PA. This visit was supposed to be the last fill before we make a date for the final switch. I called today and said that I may want to keep going. We'll see. I'm encouraged by your responses so far that the implants will be different. Thank you! Glad I could be the guinea pig to ask the question! ;)

    blessings,
    dh

    Good luck with your
    Good luck with your appointment on Monday Dawne! I hope you get your questions answered. Post to let us know what you find out!
  • m-star
    m-star Member Posts: 441
    Ritzy said:

    Dawne, no question is dumb.
    Dawne, no question is dumb. See the others that wanted to know too? I had a lumpectomy, but, after reading your post M-star, I am just curious as to what gummi bears or the implants that you are going to have are. I don't think I have heard of these before. I thought several might want to know. Thanks! Good luck to all of you!

    Gummi bears (we dont call
    Gummi bears (we dont call them this in the uk tho) are cohesive silicone gel implants but they are really quite firm i believe. I am having the teardrop shaped ones with being quite bony chested! They will blend into my top part of my chest better than round ones.

    I was reading lots of interesting posts on another site though and it seems mine may not actually be the harder gummi bear ones.I'm not sure now! Apparently,last year they were trialling a softer feel 'gummi' in Europe si i dont know if my PS meant the firmer silicone gel or the newer softer one! I will ask when the time comes.

    The other site i've been scouring is http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/44/topic/691962?page=96

    Its been really helpful on finding out about different implant size,shape,style etc and how women have either liked or disliked certain style implants after exchange.

    Kay
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
    Alexis F said:

    Good luck with your
    Good luck with your appointment on Monday Dawne! I hope you get your questions answered. Post to let us know what you find out!

    Saw my plastic surgeon today
    Saw my plastic surgeon today and here is what I know.

    Still unsure on what kind of implant I'm going to get. I'm so tired of making big decisions! :)

    He told me that the feeling that the expander is under the armpit is just the feel of the expander. He said lots of women comment about it, but it goes away when the implants go in. I wore a shirt on Sunday that emphasized to me that my expander sits a little lower than my real ones had. The PS said no, they really aren't but it may be the fact that there is no breast tissue on top. I'm pretty bony on top and I have bones that suddenly goes to boob. It looks odd. He told me that they could do lipo and put the fat on top so that it looks like a natural slope. I'd love to get some of that excess fat off that's been building on my tummy since the surgery, but unsure on how it will look. Anyone else had this done?

    After today, I'm up to 290 cc's and this time I really do think I'm done. They took pictures after the fill and the PA let me look at the pictures they took of my real breasts. I'm right where I was and that's where I wanted to be. Glad because in more pain after the fills than I've ever had. Thank God for muscle relaxers!

    Looks like I'll exchange for the implants in July. So looking forward to it.
  • sherik
    sherik Member Posts: 26

    Saw my plastic surgeon today
    Saw my plastic surgeon today and here is what I know.

    Still unsure on what kind of implant I'm going to get. I'm so tired of making big decisions! :)

    He told me that the feeling that the expander is under the armpit is just the feel of the expander. He said lots of women comment about it, but it goes away when the implants go in. I wore a shirt on Sunday that emphasized to me that my expander sits a little lower than my real ones had. The PS said no, they really aren't but it may be the fact that there is no breast tissue on top. I'm pretty bony on top and I have bones that suddenly goes to boob. It looks odd. He told me that they could do lipo and put the fat on top so that it looks like a natural slope. I'd love to get some of that excess fat off that's been building on my tummy since the surgery, but unsure on how it will look. Anyone else had this done?

    After today, I'm up to 290 cc's and this time I really do think I'm done. They took pictures after the fill and the PA let me look at the pictures they took of my real breasts. I'm right where I was and that's where I wanted to be. Glad because in more pain after the fills than I've ever had. Thank God for muscle relaxers!

    Looks like I'll exchange for the implants in July. So looking forward to it.

    OMG - My tissue expander was
    OMG - My tissue expander was amazingly uncomfortable - a tortoise shell sewn into my chest. It was expanded way bigger than my remaining breast and I had to stuff my bra with one of those silicone cutlet things. I took photos of it - it looked insane toward the end. I was an A cup and the expander was like a D. My plastic surgeon needed to make it larger so that he could make a natural looking "crease" below the implant so it looks like a natural breast. I now have a silicone implant and he did a slight enhancement to my left breast to even them out. I'm a B cup now and things are starting to look much more natural. I'm getting the nipple on the right and a slight lift to the left this Friday - hopefully I'll be done. Funny you mention the lipo - I was wondering about how often that was suggested. My doc suggested that for me too - to round out the right side - he'll take some fat from my outer thighs. If we can get approval from the insurance co before Friday I'm going to go for it. You will feel so much more comfortable when you get the expanders out!!! Good luck with everything.
  • m-star
    m-star Member Posts: 441

    Saw my plastic surgeon today
    Saw my plastic surgeon today and here is what I know.

    Still unsure on what kind of implant I'm going to get. I'm so tired of making big decisions! :)

    He told me that the feeling that the expander is under the armpit is just the feel of the expander. He said lots of women comment about it, but it goes away when the implants go in. I wore a shirt on Sunday that emphasized to me that my expander sits a little lower than my real ones had. The PS said no, they really aren't but it may be the fact that there is no breast tissue on top. I'm pretty bony on top and I have bones that suddenly goes to boob. It looks odd. He told me that they could do lipo and put the fat on top so that it looks like a natural slope. I'd love to get some of that excess fat off that's been building on my tummy since the surgery, but unsure on how it will look. Anyone else had this done?

    After today, I'm up to 290 cc's and this time I really do think I'm done. They took pictures after the fill and the PA let me look at the pictures they took of my real breasts. I'm right where I was and that's where I wanted to be. Glad because in more pain after the fills than I've ever had. Thank God for muscle relaxers!

    Looks like I'll exchange for the implants in July. So looking forward to it.

    EXCHANGE CITY
    Hi Dawn

    copy and paste this link. http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/44/topic/728266
    I think you'll find some really interesting stuff from women who have had their implant exchange or have it approaching. It covers types of implants,lipo with fat grafting etc and womens experiences with them. There are lots of good topics on the RECONSTRUCTION section of the forum and you can always start your own thread!
    The section of this thread is called EXCHANGE CITY. Hope its of some use

    Kay
  • pshurtz
    pshurtz Member Posts: 3

    they are kind of different
    The implants like the expanders are not shaped like real breasts. My expanders also went sort of under my arms. Plastic surgeons like to expand your skin larger than the implant because there is "shrinking" of the capsule after the implant is placed. So, you want the expander breast to be larger than what you want to end up with. My implants are fatter than my breasts were and also flatter than mine were. They are sort of like fat pancakes--plump around the edges but, sort of flat across the front (not cone shaped like the real thing). My expanders went much further under my arms than the implants do. The implants don't look abnormal in clothing. I have only had my implants for 1 1/2 months so haven't gotten to the nipple stage---don't know what I'll decide about that. Hope this helps!

    Hugs, El

    I Hate my reconstruction
    I had the unfortunate luck of being diagnosed with contralateral breast cancer in my right breast--right after completing chemo, and rads and mastectomy on my right breast. Unfortunately, I made the decision to have an expander placed in my right breast at the time of my mastectomy and before we discovered I had four dirty nodes which meant I was going to end up having radiation. Radiation really can and often does mess up the ultimate result--a fact that does not become apparent until after the expander is removed and the implant is in place---Dont do this--wait to make sure you arent going to need radiation before you start the reconstruction process. Also, it is imperative that you tell the plastic surgeon what you want in terms of size and shape and have him show you the implants. The implants come in different sizes and shapes,. I didnt do this--and I ended up with wide pancake shaped man pecs--that are too wide for my body -extend under my arm and rub painfully. I was shown incredible after surgery pictures before I went into this--and wasnt shown anything like the mess I ended up with (didnt see anyone in the surgeon's office running to get a camera to display my new breasts...lol)
    Im addition , my reconstructed breasts are asymetrical--one is lower than the other, and the radiated right breast is all wrinkled and puckery! What a nightmare! When I went back, all I got was basically, yada yada too bad-- we can take em out or graft skin to fix the wrinkled damaged skin...mercifully, my oncologist took a look today and said she would give me a referral to another plastic surgeon to see what could be done. I am really upset and angry about this because I didnt go into this expecting I would end up looking like a beach babe--but I think they should have been more realistic with me about the possible results...will repost after i see the 2d surgeon..
    patty
  • AngelBaby
    AngelBaby Member Posts: 47
    m-star said:

    Im so glad someone esle
    Im so glad someone esle asked this question first!! lol

    My expanders also push out at the outside edges and my arm rubs on them too. I hate it too! Its a wierd sensation. I was tiny before surgery and so never had any problems with rubbing! No way do i want my silicones to protrude out so they catch on my arms.

    I'd also like mine to sit more INWARDS so the gap between them isn't so big.I am going for the teardrop shaped cohesive gel implants-i think you guys call them gummi bears (????)as i have quite a bony chest area and they will slope more naturally on me.I'd still like a high-ish profile though.

    My PS assures me the finished article will be different to what it is now and i hope he's right. I WANT CLEAVAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL =D

    Thanks for asking
    I am so glad someone asked this question. I have one more "fill" before I can my surgery. I had cancer in my left side so my surgeon will have to adjust the right to match as close as possible. I had questions about it being so far under my arm and also the fact that it feels like a baseball. The muscle spasms feel like contractions and tend to wrap around to my shoulder blade. Is that normal? I understand wanting cleavage again. Someone explain teardrop and gummies for me?
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
    m-star said:

    EXCHANGE CITY
    Hi Dawn

    copy and paste this link. http://community.breastcancer.org/forum/44/topic/728266
    I think you'll find some really interesting stuff from women who have had their implant exchange or have it approaching. It covers types of implants,lipo with fat grafting etc and womens experiences with them. There are lots of good topics on the RECONSTRUCTION section of the forum and you can always start your own thread!
    The section of this thread is called EXCHANGE CITY. Hope its of some use

    Kay

    thanks, M-Star
    I've looked at some of the posts on "Exchange City" and it's so big, I feel overwhelmed. Couldn't find many with fat grafts, but have only looked at 30 of the 400so pages.
    Thanks for posting! I'll read more when I get a chance.
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
    sherik said:

    OMG - My tissue expander was
    OMG - My tissue expander was amazingly uncomfortable - a tortoise shell sewn into my chest. It was expanded way bigger than my remaining breast and I had to stuff my bra with one of those silicone cutlet things. I took photos of it - it looked insane toward the end. I was an A cup and the expander was like a D. My plastic surgeon needed to make it larger so that he could make a natural looking "crease" below the implant so it looks like a natural breast. I now have a silicone implant and he did a slight enhancement to my left breast to even them out. I'm a B cup now and things are starting to look much more natural. I'm getting the nipple on the right and a slight lift to the left this Friday - hopefully I'll be done. Funny you mention the lipo - I was wondering about how often that was suggested. My doc suggested that for me too - to round out the right side - he'll take some fat from my outer thighs. If we can get approval from the insurance co before Friday I'm going to go for it. You will feel so much more comfortable when you get the expanders out!!! Good luck with everything.

    Tortoise Shell! :)))
    I hadn't heard expanders explained that way ... that's exactly what they look and feel like. So glad you're nearing the end of the process. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm so ready to get these things out!

    You're on the final lap. Good luck on Friday.
  • Angie2U
    Angie2U Member Posts: 2,991

    Saw my plastic surgeon today
    Saw my plastic surgeon today and here is what I know.

    Still unsure on what kind of implant I'm going to get. I'm so tired of making big decisions! :)

    He told me that the feeling that the expander is under the armpit is just the feel of the expander. He said lots of women comment about it, but it goes away when the implants go in. I wore a shirt on Sunday that emphasized to me that my expander sits a little lower than my real ones had. The PS said no, they really aren't but it may be the fact that there is no breast tissue on top. I'm pretty bony on top and I have bones that suddenly goes to boob. It looks odd. He told me that they could do lipo and put the fat on top so that it looks like a natural slope. I'd love to get some of that excess fat off that's been building on my tummy since the surgery, but unsure on how it will look. Anyone else had this done?

    After today, I'm up to 290 cc's and this time I really do think I'm done. They took pictures after the fill and the PA let me look at the pictures they took of my real breasts. I'm right where I was and that's where I wanted to be. Glad because in more pain after the fills than I've ever had. Thank God for muscle relaxers!

    Looks like I'll exchange for the implants in July. So looking forward to it.

    Wishing you good luck with
    Wishing you good luck with your upcoming surgery Dawne. I didn't go thru what you are, since I had a lumpectomy, but, it seems everyone says the expanders are really painful. I am glad you have the muscle relaxers to help you.
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
    Angie2U said:

    Wishing you good luck with
    Wishing you good luck with your upcoming surgery Dawne. I didn't go thru what you are, since I had a lumpectomy, but, it seems everyone says the expanders are really painful. I am glad you have the muscle relaxers to help you.

    Thanks, Angie!
    It is always easier dealing with pain if you know that it has an end. Thank you for your encouraging words!
  • shelbyhome
    shelbyhome Member Posts: 145

    Just got expanders out 8 weeks ago...
    Much, much more comfortable without those tortoise shells inside me! Don't expect a miracle though after reconstruction. So far, I still don't have cleavage and they looked extremely strange up until a day or two ago. It takes a while for the implants to "settle in" to their new home. I went into the double mastectomy with a large D and even with 750cc implants I am a small C. Body size makes a HUGE difference on how you turn out. I weigh 195lbs so 750cc on me looks a lot smaller than they would on a petite person. Good luck!! p.s. I wrote a lot about this on my blog if you're interested. ;)

    Expanders
    I have had my expanders in since April 8th and they are so uncomfortable, when I lay on my side it feels like a kick stand on a bike sticking in my arm pit!I can't wait to them out. My plastic surgeon said that they have to put them high but the silicone or saline wont be that high or hard.I can't decide which to get saline or silicone, I keep thinking if I was to ever have a car accident and they bust I want something that your body will absorbe, undecided.
    I had a bilateral mastectomy and so I dont have to worry about one beong bigger than the other. I do have a outline of where the cleavage will be. I have had Dr.s that explained things very well and I have asked a ton of questions.
    I hope this helps someone and I am so glad that you are all out there to talk to!
  • e_hope
    e_hope Member Posts: 370
    NOT A DUMB QUESTION
    my experience. I was a A to a very small B prior to surgery for starters..

    My expanders.. I had filled to 450 cc, the where like to very round up high rocks, and my entire sternum had no cleavage..

    My silicone implants.. 550 cc high profile memory gel implants placed. when my plastic surgeon placed the implants he cut into the skin on the sternum so now i have lol, nice cleavage. and my breast have a nice tear drop shape.. much more realistic appearance and feel..and for me it was instant relief from the dreaded expanders

    lol, its been so long and been through so much, don't think i remember what my old breast looked like, other than my old bra size..

    went from a 34 A/B... to a 34D..

    So yes, they do look different after implant are placed.. I would recommend going as far as the skin will stretch...

    Talk to you plastic surg about what you are hoping your final size will be, I had told him since day 1 I was hoping to come out of this with larger breast ( I agree with surimom, your body size will play a huge difference in the final outcome.. i am only 4'10 with med build).. and let us know what he says..