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Tissue expanders replaced with permanent implants

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2011

I am 38 years old and I had a bilateral masectomy in July. The reconstruction process has taken a while due to infections, etc. I just had my tissue expanders replaced with silicone implants. It has only been 3 days but I am very disappointed so far. I was wondering if anyone can tell me how long it takes the swelling to go down and will it assume a better shape. Right now I feel that it is very flat on the top and large farther down.

Posts: 242
Joined: Apr 2010

I had my implants the end of Oct. It took a while to get used to them. I wasn't thrilled at first but they look better now. I've notice they are looking better since I wear a bra. I'm still having trouble finding a bra that fits. It's not the implants but the size I need around. Once I get to a 42B that is it. I need the B cup but in a larger size they don't make them with padding to even me out. Also I'm still uneven, but that is because they had to take more from one side that the other. I hope this helps.


Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2011

Thank you... Were your implants silicone also? I know I am only 4 days out from the surgery, but I am struggling with the fact that this is the final result.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

When I had mine done, it was with saline, when the dressing came off the breast was flat. Thought it had popped. We waited a week and he went back in. The implant didn't pop, but it slid around so I was sporting one breast on the left side, which was now beautiful, and the other on my back! They didn't restitch the pocket. I was laughing so hard, never thought to check for a boob on my back!

Then Dr. sewed up the pocket and put in a new one. That one stayed in place, but a week later, even with swelling, it was about half the size of the left one. On to surgery # 3 with a new kind of implant for that side. It was somewhat better, but this time, he left the plug in, then waited the week and checked them and was able to adjust the fill! Thank God because now they are much better with or without a bra on.

The next step was the nipple. That was a comedy unto itself. At first the nipple was about the size of a quarter. He said not to worry, when the swelling goes down it would be normal. When the swelling went down, the only evidence of a nipple were the scars.

So then I went to a tatoo artist to have a nipple tatoo'd on. But as we got talking, I really wanted something to cover all the scars, so she drew a beautiful hibiscus with a hummingbird and some exotic leaves and palms that covers the whole right side of my chest. I must say it is beautiful, and when I get out of the shower, I see memories of Hawaii, not cancer.

Bottom line is it only takes a little tweaking to fix if there are differences, after the initial reconstruction.


Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2011

Thank you. I really appreciate you telling me about the tatoo, because I have 0 tattoos and never would have thought about something like that, but is something that perks my interest now! How long do you think it will be until I can really judge what this is going to look like forever? I don't know if there needs to be more tweaking or if I just was dillousional about the final result becuase both sides are pretty symmetrical. There just isn't much cleavage. At 38 I want a little cleavage. I want to wear a bathing suit again this summer.

Dawne.Hope's picture
Posts: 825
Joined: Sep 2009

congratulations on your exchange although I'm sorry you're not happy with the results. I have silicone implants too. Usually, none of us are happy right after the exchange. The implants look flat, squished ... something like a hamburger bun. You're still dealing with swelling at this point and it can take 3-4 months, sometimes up to 6 months for the implants to settle in the pocket your PS made for them. The implants are under the pec muscle and that muscle is tight ... it takes time for it to relax. As the pec muscle relaxes, the implants drop a little and it appears a little bigger simply because the muscle has relaxed and is not constricting the implant anymore. Give it some time. Some us after our exchange need push-up bras to give us some cleavage. There's no breast tissue behind our implants to give us 'oomp' only the implant itself. Hang in there! Hopefully in a few months they'll settle in and you'll be happier! Best of wishes to you!

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks, a hampburger bun is the perfect description. This gives me some hope. Thanks for the timeline. I needed that.

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

Hang in there! I traded in my expanders for implants last November. I have the Mentor silicone memory gel implants, 800ccs. I felt the EXACT same way that you did right after my surgery. It takes at least 4 months for them to settle in & start looking more like boobs. Dawne Hope reassured me after my exchange surgery too :)
Last month, I had some fat grafting done on my breasts also - my plastic surgeon removed a few syringes full of fat from my abdomen and injected it to the front part of my new breasts - it REALLY plumped them out & gave me a bit more projection. My left breast had a flat area on it from my mastectomy scar & my surgeon suggested it - I'd ask about it when you're all healed, it definately was the icing on the cake for mine!

Posts: 5
Joined: Apr 2011

Thanks! I don't know anything about the fat grafting. I appreciate the information and the time line. I will ask about it. Thanks.

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