Qu about tissue expander

I’m due to see my surgeon on 7th August and discuss surgery/reconstruction. I’m having a double mastectomy. I am a 34C and the nurse said I would be a good candidate for a tissue expander followed by implants about 3 to 6 months later. Although I think I would prefer a reconstruction, I don’t want to assume that I need to have one and am trying to weigh up all the pros and cons in the meantime.

I’ve been shown pictures of what the eventual results (with implants) look like but what does it look like during the 3 to 6 months before you get to that stage? I’ve got this idea in my head that I’ll start off completely flat-chested then gradually expand, over-expand (will this look odd?) and then the implant operation. During that wait for the implant operation, what do you or can you wear to “top up” your lack of boobs in the meantime? Do the hospital supply you with anything or is there anything that you can buy or do you just have to make do without something there until the whole procedure is complete?

Also, do they aim to get you the same cup size that you were before or are there medical reasons for maybe doing you a different size? Will you know before-hand?

I know I’ll get to ask on 7th August about all these questions but that seems a long way off and I’m trying to weigh things up now.

THanks in advance!


I had tissue expanders put in both times. They put 100mls in at the time of the op and went back every 2 weeks for another 100mls each time. They soon go up and every time I went I got a little excited to see it getting more realistic, although a bit high.
They give you a “softie” in the hospital which is a pad filled with some kind of padding, which as I got bigger took some of the padding out. I am now booked in for the silicone implants for September.
They have asked me what size I want to be, saying now is the chance if I want o go bigger, but I’ll be happy with a B cup.

Good luck


Thanks for your reply Slippy. It’s really helpful to know more about it.


Hi Nicola

I had the chest expander, I think that is the same as a tissue expander but I live in SA so it could be different wording. I am a 36B. The recon surgeon pumped me up every couple of weeks, but only 50 mls, he said any more saline pumped in could give me pain as the skin is stretched too much in one go. It took me around 4 months for the skin to be stretched and then I went in for the op to take out the chest expander and put in the silicone boob. I was so happy with the results. If I had your email address I would gladly send you a picture of my boobs, he also uplifted the other boob and moved the nipple so they both matched up, I am very happy with the results. I don’t suppose you post on Breaktrough do you? I could leave you my email address there. I really would gladly send you a picture of me with the recon, I know you would be very happy to see the results. Love Roz xx

Thanks for the reply Roz. We’ve just away for a week’s holiday so only just seen it. Thanks for the offer. I’ve seen some pics on the BC Pals website. I haven’t posted on Breakthrough though. I might have a look there as well.


Hi Nicola

I have put a message on Breakthrough with my email address if you want to email me I will take pictures of my recon for you to see what a good job they did. I had a nipple put on too, they used the skin from a small tummy tuck to make the nipple, then later I had it tattoed, which I am also very happy with. I posted in “Living with Breast Cancer”. Love Roz xx