reconstruction after first attempt has failed dued to infection

I would love to hear from other women who have undergone a bi-lateral mastectomy with tissue expander implants but then had to have one or both removed. I had one implant removed last week after nearly 3 weeks of i.v. antibiotics and now have to wait at least 6 months for things to settle down before any further reconstruction can be attempted. I am finding it very difficult to come to terms with how the scar looks as it seems it’s 100 times worse than it would have been if I had elected to have just the mastectomy and no reconstruction. I feel guilty about this as I know how lucky I am not to have to undergo radiotherapy or chemotherapy.


Hold on to that thought - the lucky one. There are plenty on here incl me who can tell you how much worse thngs can be so please count your blessings, it’s hard I know.


Hi Verbascum,
I haven’t had exactly the same experience as you but I am someone who has had 2 attempts at reconstruction and after immediate reconstruction 2 years ago, I also had to have the implant removed a few months later due to infection. I was all for getting a new implant or other recon op done as quickly as possible and whilst at times, I have found it very frustrating, I have now had a different op (the DIEP one) recently and now things are getting back to normal and my confidence has returned.
Please don’t beat yourself up about having had immediate reconstruction and the scars issue, you did what you thought was best at the time and you’re bound to be feeling very low after this experience.
It probably seems frustrating but please take the hospital’s advice and give your body a chance to recover before having a second attempt.
Wishing you all the very best,

Thank you Beth for your message it has certainly cheered me and I certainly won’t be rushing to have more surgery. I’m glad it worked ok for you in the end x x x


So sorry you had to go through this. It happened to me in Jan and I was devastated.

Im going to have a Diep or Sgap (flesh from stomach or bum taken to make new boob) done after christmas as another implant is not an option due to the thinning of my skin. So they will be able to cut out the scars (horrible ) left after the failed implant. I will of course have lots of new scars ho hum…from the diep.

Im trying to be positive, I never liked the feel of the implant - it felt like a tennis ball strapped to my chest so the diep or sgap will, I hope, feel more natural and I hope I will not have to have any further surgery as I might have done with the implant. All Im trying to say I suppose is that even though at the time I felt like my world had come to and end, there are positive things which have happened as a result. Keep strong, it will come right in the end.



I’ve just posted about my own experience of having a DIEP fail a week ago. I had constant problems with the expander implant that was used to keep the skin stretched and took antibiotics for weeks. At one point the implant was removed, deflated and reinserted. I’m beginning to wonder if immediate reconstruction is a good idea at all…

Take care

Deborah x

just had my expander removed really gutted still got left one in got to wait a few weeks for a review to see if it gets put back in not sure what happens next but feel really gutted as was due to have inplants in oct 08 but feel lucky not had to deal with cancer as well but still feel confused and down dont feel i have the right to feel like that take care trish x


I had a recon in June and 2 weeks ago had the implant removed, I had 5 lots of anitibiotics (2 IV). I was devistated as I thought it would all go well but now i am left with 1/2 a boob which is the mucsle they took from the back. Mine wasnt an immediate reconstruction I waited 7 months but had chemo inbetween.

I havr asked different people how many reconstructions fail but no one gives an answer and seems to skirt around the issue.

I am not rushing into having surgery again in fact I wont be talking to the sugeon until next year about having or not having it done again


I’m 8 weeks post-op following bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with tissue expanders. The discomfort isn’t really lessening, in fact my Consultant increased my pain medication 2 weeks ago and started me on Tramadol and Lorazepam which makes me feel sick so I’m now on anti-emetics too!!

I went back to the Royal Marsden yesterday and it turns out the pain is being caused by my left expander moving!! Can you believe that? I couldn’t when the Consultant told me but she was able to move it with her hands and that reproduced the pain I’ve been getting in the ribs. She doesn’t know why this has happened and quite honestly told me that she doesn’t have any magic solutions for me. She has suggested I try wearing a tight fitting sports bra 24/7 until my next appointment in 4 weeks and see what happens.

The right hand implant is nicely in place where it should be but for some reason the muscle on the left hasn’t contracted around the expander.

At least I now know why which is something but if it doesn’t settle and I’m unable to live with the pain the only option will be to take the expanders out. I hope it does settle but wonder if anybody esle has experienced this? Also how long would be too long for me to be saying I can’t bear this feeling of “it” moving and grating against my ribs whenever I move?


Hi Tinfish
i really feel or you.
I had recon in Oct last year and had to have implant removed due to infection, like you i ended up with 1/2 a boob. i was so depressed and wished i hadn’t gone ahead with the recon at all, it looked better when it was just flat. I went through 6 months of hell, crying all the time shouting at OH. i think i was just so angry!
I went back in in May and had implant put back in, although i was really nervous- it was much simpler op as my back had healed, surgeon only opened the scar up a bit and it healed really quickly. i feel so much better now and pleased with the result. waiting for reduction on other side now and then nipple recon and tatoo.
i just see it as part of a proccess that i have started so might as well finish.
Hope you feel better soon.
Oh by the way i wore a swim prothesis, which is hollow over my 1/2 boob, which looked ok although a bit uncomfortable at times.
marg xx

Hi Marg

Thanks so much for your reply, I have found it hard to find someone in the same position as me (although not good when it goes wrong glad I have found someone). I also have tried to find out how many implants fail, I when I ask people are surprised I want to know!!!

I am going to decide next year what to do although I dont feel I can live we 1 1/2 boobs forever!!!

I am so glad your op went well, you have given me hope