Expander reconstruction

Hi all. After chemo, I had a mastectomy and an expander reconstruction in Feb this year, followed by 3 weeks of radiotherapy. So now, 6 months later, my reconstruction is still rock hard. The skin around it is getting softer but, is this how it will always be, so hard?? I haven't had it expanded anymore yet. Has anybody else been through this and does it get any softer? I have an appointment with my surgeon in 2 weeks. Thanks xx

5 Replies

  • Hi, I too had mastectomy with expander fitted back in December, I had it slightly inflated at the time so that I wasn't coming home flat on one side. I had a few more inflations in January/February and started radiotherapy mid February finishing beginning of march. My skin is nice and soft but the expander itself is hard so that it stretches the muscle and skin ready for implant. I'm seeing my surgeon again next month to discuss being booked in for implant before Xmas.

  • Hi, that is really helpful, thank you. Perhaps it is time to discuss timelines for replacing mine with an implant too. Initially the surgeon said I would keep the expander in for 4 years, hence the concern. Good luck with the next stage of your reconstruction, and thanks for your help 😃. Xx

  • 4 years! Not heard anyone having had one in for that long. 6 months after radiotherapy ended is the usual so that the expander is doing the job of keeping skin nicely stretched over the firm expander to try and balance out any tightening after radiotherapy, mines only gone on longer as my surgeon has just had surgery herself and not up and about yet. Thank you, I wish you well too x

  • I had expander with implant as well. I didn't need chemo or radiotherapy. While I had the expander in it felt rock solid & sat very high ....I hated it. But since I had implant,hugh improvement. I'm still not totally happy coz it didn't drop as much as expected but when I'm dressed looks perfect. It takes a while for all the swelling to go down. It feels weird compared to my non surgery side but quiet soft. Hope this helps

  • Hi, that really helps thank you ! Although you are not totally happy with your Implant ,it sounds as though it is softer than the expander? There is hope then, and certainly worth discussing more options with the surgeon next week? Thank you, and I hope your implant drops more for you too., in time. Feels like an on-going challenge, but it is so helpful to talk through on this website x

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