double reconstruction due in March using expanders

Hello Ladies,

I am booked in and in need of some positive experiences from others who have gone down this road. It feels strange making the decision to do this as I am now four years post diagnosis. I had a lumpectomy at the time. Last year I found out that I have a br 1 gene and I am advised to have the reconstruction for this reason. To be fair it reduces the risk in my life time dramatically and I have to do it.
I am worried about the expanders and the discomfort people talk about. I am also hoping in my optimistic way that I will end up with fabulous boobies that wont threaten my life!!
Any support and advice welcome.

Best wishes to you all

Hannah xx


You are in a similar position to me.

I have a lumpectomy in 2008, then found out I carry the defective BRCA1 gene.

I decided in Aug 10 to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate expander reconstruction.

I had the strattice technique, which uses a kind of tissue membrane to support the expanders.

To be fair I thought the expanders were uncomfortable, however I am now 5 months down the line, and they are more comfortable, and much softer than they were.

I will in 10 days actually be having them replace for silicone, mainly because one of the expanders has been leaking. This occured whilst they were ‘filling it up’.

Good luck and please feel free to ask if you need to know anything particular


Thank you Crystal,

Its really helpful hearing about your reconstruction. Im not sure about the strattice technique, best ask really!! When he was telling me the science of the op I switched off, so much to take in.
Gosh five months down the road, I hope the change to silicone goes smoothly. From what I understand that part is more simple. Are you have round or teardrop?
How have you found the expanders re look and clothing etc? I am a double D cup and will be a B cup to start with, but guessing the swelling with make them feel bigger to start with.

Best wishes Hannah

Hi Hannah

to be honest the expanders look fine under clothing, one of the more difficult things is to find a bra you are comfortable in.
I went for boring sports bras, or non underwired basic ones, as I can only now (5 months later) feel able to have an underwired one.

It will take you a little while to go up to the correct cup size, but it will be worth it.

not sure what type of silicone yet - will find out on the day i guess.
Good luck


Hi Hannah - I had my double masectomy with expander surgery done on 8 Jan 2011 so it’s obviously better that others who have had more time for the op to settle down to comment on the longer term results, but as someone who’s expanders are a few days old, I was expecting them to look pretty awful, but (ignoring the swelling and bruising) I think they look ok.

I was in hospital for 3 nights and the whole thing has been relatively painfree. I’m permanently in a sports bra with a chest binder to ensure the expanders stay pushed down which is uncomfortable, but I expected to be in a lot more pain so apart from the normal post-op recovery, I’m feeling v positive about my choice to use expanders followed later by permanent implants. So in terms of the actual op, please don’t worry.

I’m a A cup so I should hopefully have the bonus of getting bigger and better shaped boobs at the end of this!

Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It really helps me to think I can do this. I am so pleased you are not in pain.
I wish you a very speedy recovery and will look out for any future updates on how you are doing.

Hannah xx