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Chest Expanders
070872 posted:
Hello Girls,
I haven't posted in quite a while now but I had the nipple/skin sparing bi-lateral mastectomy March 3 and now have the expanders in place since June 11. I really respect my PS but he has "nil" personality and all business. He's a top notch doc in Seattle and quite a perfectionist so I'm satisfied with that! Anyway, the left side is doing OK but the right at first felt like I was actually being stabbed in the chest now it has lessened to a dull knife point right beside my sternum and I also feel a "bubble" on that side. Is the pain going to eventually subside so I can once again sleep on my side? My PS is also a little concerned because one nipple is slightly higher than the other @ my post op and he feels the expander might have "slipped" a bit and mumbled something about going in and fixing that much to my horror!! Just need some info about what some of you have experienced.. I know I'm not suppose to lift over 5 pounds until he gives the OK but I got my first granddaughter on Monday, 8 lbs, 8.4 ounces after two grandsons and I can't leave her alone!! Thanks for any advice!
rachael67 responded:
Good to hear from you, Barbara. Yes, some docs get away with being a bit of a curmudgeon simply because their talent allows them to do so and to be tolerated! Guess if you have to sacrifice one aspect for another, that's the best avenue!

I cannot help you in the area of reconstruction, but we have several laides who are dealing with these issues right now, and I am sure they will soon respond and share their experiences with you. Know you will remain in my thoughts that each day get easier.


PS...OH! I can soooo appreciate wanting to hold and hug and kiss that new little girl!! But please take it easy so that you will be able to do even more and much more quickly...And please give her a hug and kiss from me!
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
susan1240 responded:
Hi Barbara ... I also had a double mastectomy. (in Oct. 2009) My PS put in expanders 6 months later ... then 3 months after that he exchanged them for silicon implants.I was miserable with the expanders the entire time! My chest was SO tight, I could barely breathe! Now I have implants ... sometimes I feel poking (like sticks) against my chest wall ... then fluid forms. I also have "cording" or "webbing" that starts in my armpit, then runs down my torso and back. ... VERY STRANGE! I really think there is scar tissue left from the 3 surgeries I had in 3 months. My implants appear okay ... it is just the poking sensation underneath them that is causing anxiety. Write back when you have a chance. Congratulations on your first granddaughter! -Susan
cindy12345678 responded:
Hi Barbara,
I had bi-mast in Jan2011. I had expanders immediately and I just got my silicone implants June 8. What I have seen is that everyone is different and so are their doctors. But I think that everyone has had problems with the expanders! I just now am able to sleep on my right side. You should be more comfortable when you get your implants. Make sure that your doctor knows how uncomfortable you are, you don't need to be misserable. I know that too much lifting would make me more sore.
bcdevil replied to cindy12345678's response:
Hi Barbara,
I had TE's exchanged june 17th, 2 wks ago, and my silicone implants are still very tight sometimes and uncomfortable. There are so many diff opinions about massaging, some say do it, others say don't. Sure wish we got manuals with these things! I also get a bubble at times. I also had 3 surgeries in 3 months and i also feel i prob have lots of scar tissue. All i can say, is let's try to hang in there with these and be extra careful to not get an infection!! They still do poke, but it's better than the expander for sure!!
Hugs and lucky shamrocks
brcansur responded:
I had my implants in a little over 2 years ago mine are saline. I too have had a poking feeling and very tight hard feeling. I had to have left one replaced due to concaved into chest wall last year. doing fine now had to use bigger implant. May of this year had right breast turn red and swollen on me had test done and MRI showed fluid and ruptured implant had removed on 31. Implant wasn't ruptured and don't know what caused all the trouble other then infection. Had surgery on june 21 to put new implant in but due to scar tissue couldn't so have expander back in yaaa. But I too have had a lot of trouble with implants pain ,pulling, pinching feeling, hardening. I just am not very happy with them at all. Nothing like I was told they would be soft and more like your natural breast.BULL CRAP. They hurt they are hard and they are not even shaped like a natural breast. All I am told for how mine feel and the pains and what ever else I am feeling is it is all because of the scar tissue. I can feel all these long hard lumps near my incision that they just cut and some above that and asked what they are. They are scar tissue,I asked why didn't they remove them. I was told because it would leave bumps in my skin and the implant wouldn't lay right. But they also told me they had to work hard and revise things just to get my implant out and the expander in because of scar tissue and being so tight. How do they think they can expand me and have room without me being in really bad pain. Not going to happen. So they better figure something out soon or it is all coming out and going flat. I hope your ps can make you comfortable no pain from implants and look good. I know the expanders are the worst very uncomfortable but it is over sooner then you think with them. I wish you all the best have a great weekend angel hugs Roberta
0910faith responded:

Hi Barbara,
First congratulations on your first granddaughter.
Let the proud mommy and daddy just put her in
your arms. Don't lift her yourself.
I had a Bi-Mastectomy on May 5,2011. The surgeons
were not able to save my nipples because of the location
of the cancer on my right breast. And at surgery they
also found cancer on my left breast.. But I do have
the expanders. They are very uncomfortable. I have
not been able to sleep on my side. They poke my ribs
so I have to prop myself up with firm pillows. I hate
sleeping on my back. I have a wonderful PS. If your
is all business and he is well respected just bare with
it. I do know how you feel though. Mine told me not
to worry about lumps and bumps. I think they are all
perfectionists and like to see their work that way also.
Hang in there girl. We have a ways to go. I had to
have my drains put back in and had to keep them for
three weeks. He just took them out yesterday. I still
have fluid coming from one side. I am double/triple
gauzed and taped until it lets up.
Good luck to you and give the young lady a kiss from
another grandma
love n hugs
brcansur responded:
Hello again just wanted to say have a great 4th and enjoy the granddaughter but make sure that one of the proud parents put the new baby in your arms for you so you don't have to lift her up. Then just sit with your arm on a pillow so the weight isn't all on your arm and enjoy her cuddle her for me I love newborns they are so sweet and how they smell so sweet. Have a great weekend angel hugs Roberta
0910faith replied to brcansur's response:
Tell your kids we are so jealous you get to hold and kiss
this new baby,
Happy Fourth to all
love n hugs
cindy12345678 replied to brcansur's response:
Hi Roberts,
Roberta have you thought about silicone?That was all my ps really wanted to use. I know for awhile they weren't available. Mine feel soft, even to hubby. They feel a little weird under my chest muscle though.I was wondering if you can have body fat put in after you have had implants and have had problems with them?I hope I don't have problems. Mine are also small. I had problems with my arms and the expanders.But I am glad you let me know what to expect if I do have problems. Some people don't want reconstruction.If I knew how painful the process was going to be, I might have skipped it. THey have no idea how uncomfortable everything can get. I hope you have a good weekend!
Love, hugs and comfort,
cindy12345678 replied to 0910faith's response:
So glad the drains are gone! If one side stopped I am confident the other will too! I hate sleeping on my back too. I had too for a long time. I propped myself up almost sitting. It hurt too much to lay down flat for a long time. I hope it gets better for you soon.I had some little lumps, my ps said they would go away , and they did.
Have a great weekend!
Love and hugs,
bcdevil replied to cindy12345678's response:
Happy 4th Ladies! Getting ready to go make my fancy red, white and blue desserts! Cindy, My p.s. also recommends silicone cuz of rippling. My twins seem to be behaving a little better every day! Still sore and tight at times, but very slowly settling in. I think the occasional tightness is muscle spasms. I think you can have fat added. I don't know how big you are, but my p.s. said if you are small or tiny, the expanders and implants are harder to adjust to. I believe it. I did learn that i think you can have fat injections with implants. I also learned that if you ever get enough fat, you can have this implant removed and use your own tissue and insurance has to pay for replacement. Gonna try to eat lots of food, LOL!
Faith, Glad to hear one side stopped draining. You have been thru so much my sweet girl! I pray for you all the time! Hoping you have a super holiday!
Roberta, I also was told silicone is the way to go per my p.s. It is getting better and my small lumps are going away also. Just hang in there, stay strong and keep the faith, sweetie! Let's just celebrate independence from cancer!
Happy birthday America and my beautiful girl, Jessie Kay!
Love, hugs and lucky shamrocks
brcansur replied to bcdevil's response:
Have a great day with your red white and blue cake and wish your daughter a very happy birthday. I am having a very busy fun fill weekend will need a big break and relax for the rest of the week for sure. Sat had a cookout to go to out all day got home at 9:30 at night. Sunday went and helped a friend paint her dinningroom from 10:30 am till 8:30 and got home at 9:30 at night am feeling it today for sure. The cook out today I am making al the food and boy am I feeling it my arms and chest hurt but will take my drugs and hopefully will help a lot lol.. Be dopey all day yyyaaaa what fun!!!!! I will fit in with the ones that drink because I don't. So my weekend has been nice and busy but fun. Hope yours is the same busy but fun then we all will need a break all week recover from all the fun. Have a great day with your family and your daughters birthday party. Angel hugs Roberta
judyfams replied to bcdevil's response:
You are referring to a process called micro fat grafting. It uses your own liposuctioned fat to either reconstruct a whole new breast or fill in any indentations with an implant.
You might want to check out the following website:

Have a wonderful 4th of July celebration!
070872 replied to judyfams's response:
Hi Girls,
Thanks for all your responses and now after a few weeks the expanders have gotten better and I don't feel that "stabbing" anymore in my chest. I'm trying not to worry about anything and think I will have a positive outcome - I'm told my PS likes smaller rather than bigger which is what I want. I had a fair amount of skin plus my nipples left so I feel no tightness and I can actually sleep on one side for a bit which I haven't done since March! I chose to NOT take Arimidex or anything else for the extra % survival - just felt it wasn't worth it FOR ME!! When I first went to the plastic surgeon he had me stand up to feel my stomach and then shook his head and told me I had enough "fat" for one but not for two (of course, I COULD have worked "hard" for the two!!). Anyway, I told him I wanted to lose 10 pounds before all this reconstruction started and he told me "NO"!! He said he might need some of that fat later so at least I was pleased in one aspect! I am going to Hawaii with my husband for business for 4 days and then next week will begin the "fill" process. Thanks for the congrats on the new granddaughter - she's such a good baby @ 1 week but time will tell - it's not her weight I'm really concerned about - it's her "nose out of joint" 2 year old brother who is demanding of "Grammy's" attention!!
Thanks to all and happy 4th!

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