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Expander complications ?

Momma of 3 boys...
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2012

First time user, please bear with me. I wanted to see if anyone has had any complications from the expanders. I had a b/l mast July 10 for right side ca. My left side has healed well, beside all the fluid built up. My right side not so much. I still have a drain in after 7 weeks, about 4 weeks ago I noticed a red shiny area with some bruising under my right side skin. The area is still red, you can feel the hard bottom of the expanders through the skin. I had a revision of the right breast side do to not healing on august 23rd. Doctor aware of red area, states cultures came back neg, and my white count shows no infection. Besides the discomfort, I'm worried bc I start chemo 9-10. Has anyone dealt with this kind of problem? Plastic surgeon doesn't seem concerned however doesn't have a answer for me either. Not sure what to do!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

tissue expanders. So my opinion is to call your Plastic Surgeon and get in to see
him or her.

Insist on getting additional information regarding what to do (ie - don't lay
on your side at night - can you place a small bag of frozen peas on that side
to help with inflammation). When can you expect to have your drain removed --
is this scar tissue build up --

Also, ask to see a physical therapist -- Perhaps you are over using your arm,
or not using your arm to enough to regain strength. So many variables.

Lastly, when you are at your PS .. ask to see photo's of other women in your situation. I know from experience -- every time I walked into my PS's office -- I was photographed - at
varies stages of healing -- If this is 'normal', perhaps seeing a few photo's of
other Survivors will help reassure you.

Please let us know what happens!

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

I was less than two weeks out from exchange surgery when I felt my right side expander begin to become uncomfortable. Within a day I had a fluid pocket ans redness. I called my PS on Sunday and he told me to get to the ER. I went in and within hours I was in the OR having both expanders removed. Infection spread so fast even my PS could not believe it happened. I had no fever, my white count was sky high however. I urge you to ask again, what could possibly be causing your discomfort. Redness and pain is not normal. Discomfort is accepted at a certain level but I don't think thst it is normal when it is constant and disrupts your day!
Good luck to you.

hope4thebest's picture
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi, I had the expanders in last year, and they are more rigid than the regular implants. I was also nervous about how they felt, with the folds on the bottoms and sides quite obvious. This will change, I hope you have a better experience as time moves on. The surgeries aggravate the area, so discomfort is 'normal', but you will know if it becomes sharp pain, that is not right. It is the surgeon's job to be calm, to reassure us. It is our job to tell them how we are feeling-- take notes and speak up. Keep the faith.

Momma of 3 boys...
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2012

Thank you for the suggestions. I have a call out to my ps, I think I need to be a little more firm and ask him more questions.
I'm ok with the pain as long as it will resolve and the area will not become infected once I start the chemo. Just very scared of having an infection while on chemo. thank you all again, I really love this discussion board

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

1 fully expanded(2 weeks out from exchange surgery) TE from Staph infection. I was
on vacation with my family at the Grand Canyon -- got a little tired, then sick ..
within 2 days my right breast became inflamed -- bright red, and enlarged --
Hospitalized for 5 days -- isolation, then emergency surgery to removed the infection
TE. I walked around lopsided for months -- 1 fully expanded TE, and 1 flat breast.

Please .. Please be your own best health advocate.

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

jendrey's picture
Posts: 377
Joined: Sep 2009

After my expander/implant exchange I had a rather large area that looked like a purple bruise. I was told that the blood vessels were so close to the surface that it appeared as though to be a bruise but really wasn't. (huh?!!) My skin was also very thin there. I had this large purple bruise-looking area for about a year. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...I called it a bruise anyway! =)

It didn't go away on it's own..unrelated to the bruise my implant became contaminated and had to be replaced. During this procedure the PS was able to rid me of the bruise.

It showed no signs of disappearing and would very likely still be there if not for the PS seizing the opportunity to remove it.

Your mileage may vary! =)


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